SIGiST, Skyscanner and Successful Business

There’s a common perception of business that it’s all about winning at any cost, doing down others to succeed. The dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest mentality of tv shows like The Apprentice.

Whether that’s true of some business sectors, it’s not one that I’ve been used to (or would want to be). Our business model is to freely share knowledge, build relationships and lead with our values, such as collaboration. It works well for us.

Fortunately, that’s not just my experience. In knowledge work industries, like software engineering, collaboration is regularly preferred over ruthless competition. A good example is the open source software industry, where developers across the world share code
and knowledge freely to build applications that benefit everyone.

One open source application tool I’ve found really useful over the years is a test automation tool, Apache JMeter. It’s a particularly useful tool in agile software development, because it’s very flexible and quick to pick up, so I often recommend it to teams and occasionally run training in its use.

In 2014, I did some JMeter training with some folks from Skyscanner. It was just a couple of days and I didn’t think any more of it, until I met one of the delegates later that year and he mentioned that another of the delegates, Indu Nair, had been doing some cool stuff using JMeter for testing performance on Skyscanner’s systems.

It seemed like a great opportunity to do a collaborative presentation on JMeter, so we proposed the idea to the BCS Special Interest Group in Software Testing, SIGiST, who run a quarterly conference in London. They thought it was a great idea too.

We delivered the presentation at the September 2015 conference (SIGiST Conference ). I did a quick overview on JMeter and Indu talked about her work at Skyscanner.

The presentation was very well-received, with Indu particularly getting good comments:
“Indu Nair’s presentation was very good. Excellent content and we all got to know good deal on jmeter testing. By far the best one seen in this area.”

For me it was just a great example of what George T&D is all about. I’m sure Indu may have spoken at a conference at some point any way, but it was great to encourage her to make her debut conference presentation. We provided the SIGiST folks with some useful knowledge on a good tool and its application, a more well-rounded presentation as a result of collaborating.

The thing is, it also makes good business sense. As a result of talking to folks at the conference about what we do, we’re now running a Certified Agile Tester training course in November. Everyone wins!