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Testimonial Forem

In our last Passmap, we proudly announced that we had begun an initial collaboration with a key actor in Wallonia: Forem. Since early November 2020, Dimitri, one of our French-speaking consultants, has been deployed there for a long-term mission as a software tester.

As a reminder, Dimitri had succeeded in joining Passwerk in October 2020 after a long recruitment process of almost two months, during which he also received training in software testing (ISTQB).

Forem, through Mr Vianney Maerte – its Test Manager and also Dimitri’s SPOC (Single Person of Contact) – agreed to tell us more via this short interview.

What projects has Dimitri worked on within Forem, or what projects is he currently working on?

So far, Dimitri has worked on two main projects:

  • Creation of a regression testing plan and a traceability matrix for three closely related applications. The general scope of this set of applications consists of the creation of a professional profile by a user by encoding their studies, licences, skills, experiences, etc., and the automatic creation of a CV in order to make their information visible to employers.

  • Design and performance of tests on new developments related to these applications.

Dimitri’s main mission is to take charge of testing all new developments related to the above applications, and to be an integral part of the team that manages them.

Did Forem have any doubts about autism, and more specifically about taking Dimitri on as a tester?

Personally, I’d already been lucky enough to meet some Passwerk consultants at another company, so for my part I didn’t have any doubts. But for Forem it was completely new, and I think it’s quite normal to have some fears, to wonder how the dialogue with the consultant will work out: what it’s OK to say and do, and conversely what should be avoided. Because of this, at the beginning of the collaboration Passwerk proposed a meeting to raise awareness about autism among Dimitri’s future co-workers. This made it possible to alleviate some fears right from the start.

I think working with an autistic consultant as a tester is a real asset. They will generally have the ability to perform the same task multiple times with exactly the same level of accuracy. Moreover, for the consultant’s well-being within the business, I think it’s better to take things one step at a time, not to get ahead of yourself, so that’s what we did with Dimitri in terms of his contacts with other people. Initially we let Dimitri work alone, with regular monitoring, and then we gradually integrated him into the team. Today, Dimitri is fully integrated into the team, and even participates every morning in the daily Stand Up with around ten people.

Have you learned anything new through the collaboration with Dimitri?

In general, I think that through this experience we are learning to change the way we think about autism. We must also see this collaboration as an opportunity. Dimitri is a competent person, with many abilities.

What aspects were “more difficult”?

Dimitri’s different abilities that add value to our work are:

  • Quickness of understanding

  • Quickness of execution

  • Rigour

  • Thoroughness

The main aspect that had to be worked on with Dimitri was the question of detail. Because he’s very meticulous, Dimitri wanted to dive deep into the detail of certain test scenarios. However, one of the fundamental principles of testing is that exhaustive testing is impossible, and with fixed deadlines and a fixed budget, you often have to make choices/compromises between “too much testing/detail, and not enough”.

What is Dimitri’s role in the testing and development team?

Dimitri is a tester, fully integrated into a team of developers. As mentioned above, Dimitri’s integration into the team was done step by step. Dimitri is now a colleague like the others, and his mission is to support his fellow developers in testing during various application development activities.

What would you say to Wallonian businesses that are reluctant to enter into a collaboration with Passwerk?

I’d just tell them to jump right in – a collaboration with Passwerk is not only a professional opportunity, but also a human one. However, the business must also be prepared to commit itself to monitoring the consultant properly, and to providing a calm environment for them.

How does contact with the jobcoach work?

At Forem, we have a 30-minute catch-up every two weeks about Dimitri’s work.

I think the role of the jobcoach is paramount in this collaboration, because it provides benefits for everyone:

  • For Passwerk: Having a constant follow-up of the consultant and their environment

  • For the business: Being able to quickly discuss the consultant’s strengths and areas for improvement

  • For the consultant: Discussing with their jobcoach any specific issues that they would be reluctant to raise directly with their point of contact within the business, for example.

We also thought it only natural to share with you the experience of our consultant, Dimitri, who took his turn in the question-and-answer game.

Bearing in mind that you work for Forem mainly remotely, how has your integration into the IT team worked out?

Despite the physical distance, I think I have been well received into the IT team. Every morning I take part in a Stand Up with the people I’m most able to work with. These are people with good heads on their shoulders, with whom the relationship couldn’t be anything but cordial. I haven’t felt any real unease about what my condition (my ASD) might mean.

Vianney Maerte

Test manager

If you could work 100% on-site at Forem surrounded by your colleagues, would you do it?

Currently, the percentage of my physical presence at Forem (apart from the first day with my SPOC) is 0%. The question of working 100% therefore strikes me as very hypothetical, given the current health crisis. I won’t hide the fact that this teleworking situation seems to suit me perfectly so far.

If my presence at the Forem site is required, I will do my utmost to adapt to the new situations.

Did you have any doubts when you started working for Forem?

I’m not someone who lets my mind be troubled by doubts, because I know all too well that these can only generate unwanted stress. However, I did feel some doubt during my first weeks of work. The writing of my test cases took an unwanted direction, with too much focusing on the detail. This was reflected in the relevance of the content, with a lot of superfluous elements. Fortunately, I was able to change tack once I became aware of these unnecessary frills after talking with my SPOC and the Business Analyst. The resulting improvement in my efficiency at work has meant that these doubts have now faded.

So far, have you learned any new things from your co-workers at Forem?

I think I can learn a little bit every day from my collaborations with my colleagues at Forem. Both in IT terms and on a personal level. My inclusion in the working environment, familiarization with the business culture and the multiple interactions required have probably already made me evolve towards becoming a more mature and conditioned person (in the good sense of the word). Discovering the different workings of Forem is nothing but good.

What are you most proud of in your collaboration with Forem so far?

So far, I think I’m especially proud of the fluidity of my relationships and how I’ve adapted, and of the way I’m taken care of, supported and guided by the various parties involved. I think my willingness has made the difference in my work for Forem.

How do you view the interventions of your jobcoach in your collaboration with Forem?

These interventions do me a huge amount of good. They allow me to benefit from a support that, in addition to highlighting and informing me about the assessment of the work I’ve done during the previous weeks, is above all psychological and gives me the assurance that I’m staying on track.

Overall, how satisfied are you with your collaboration with Forem?

I am extremely satisfied with my collaboration with Forem. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d put my satisfaction level above 8.5. Things have gelled quickly. I feel I’m where I belong. I don’t think it would be pretentious of me to say that I’m a link in a chain.

We can conclude that the Forem-Passwerk collaboration is going well and is a win-win situation. We give our warm thanks to Forem for the trust they have placed in Passwerk since the beginning of our exchanges. We would also like to congratulate and thank Dimitri for the work that he does every day, and also Vianney for his role as SPOC.




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