Dirk Coppelmans

Sioux Technologies BV (The Netherlands)

The legacy challenge – navigating product rejuvenation with testability

Not all devices and machines, that we use daily, are as new as they make us believe. Take your car. The newest model is basically the previous model, with some new and improved features and a shiny modern look. And this is a smart approach because the new car is based on proven technology and the car company does not have to replace its entire production line. And we, the consumers, are happy with a new and up-to-date model. This same approach is practiced in the production industry. The core of some machines has been designed decades ago! With concepts and technology of that time. Can you imagine what would happen in case these machines become vulnerable due to newly found security issues in that old OS that is used? What about newly recruited SW engineers that do not understand the technology choices based on good ol’ Delphi or COM? This talk is about technical debt and how to deal with it in your organization. How to migrate old technology to new alternatives. And specifically, how to ensure quality during this process, knowing that there are hardly any requirements or test cases for the old system, simply because that system is hardly testable if at all.

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Since 1986 I have been working in the high-tech industry. I actually started as a software tester. Over time, I’ve done my part as a software developer, team, and project lead as well. But, for me, software testing is the discipline that really keeps drawing me in. It is diverse, a specialized trade and I regard my work as playing a game against a SUT, in which I can score by breaking it. I have done this, amongst others, for the main high-tech companies in the south of the Netherlands, like ASML (16+ years), Philips and Thermo Fisher. Within Sioux Technologies, Bryan Bakker and myself are the software test competence leads. As such we find and work with the best testers. We coach and develop assets to improve our productivity. My fields of expertise are test strategy, automation and infrastructure. Software testing is not just measuring product quality. If done properly, it forms the center of gravity in any development organization, keeping everyone on track.