3/16/2016

Future of Software Tester

A way of looking at it...

Future of tester is challenged both from 'outside-world' as well as from 'Customer within'. Customer is exploring new ways of doing business and they come up with multitude of products/ projects in their portfolio to cater to the needs of their customers.

Agile methodologies also have changed the way Customer delivers products to their end customers : The release frequency has changed from 'once-a-year' to 'once-in-2 weeks'. This huge change itself exerts enormous challenge on the shoulders of the testers.

Outside world, the testing landscape is also changing with new trends. Emergence of Cloud, Mobile, IOT (including wearables), and Big data applications require new testing paradigms.

Skills in new testing tools, virtualization technologies (including Service, OS etc), managing test data, device simulation (specially for mobile, ‘Last-mile testing’, ‘In the wild testing’ are some of the buzz words that are being echoing in the testing community

This has rendered that a software tester cannot be just a manual function tester, but he needs to be transformed to a skilled and competent tester who is able to take the future challenges.

Specialization for testers
  •   Test Automation
  •   Performance testing
  •   User Experience testing
  •   Security Testing
Testers can master any of the above areas they are passionate about Becoming an expert in each of them will provide him/her with added advantage in surviving/ excelling.

Also Proper education/training and QA certifications (ISTQB, CSTE, CEH) are also important to have a better personal profile and development.

Challenges from Customer

Frequent release model – products are being released frequently and how testers manage it in sustainable way without being over-stressed and without compromising the quality

Development team members participate in testing. – How can the tester add value to the team while developers do the functional testing?

Plethora of products- New products are being added to the portfolio which needs testing, this increases the complexity of testing environments/ scenarios etc.

Future of agile

Will the agile era be over in the next decade? Not really. Therefore the agile tester will still be alive and Customer will continue be in agile business. We need to have the role of a tester to be Full stack agile tester’

A full stack agile tester is a generalizing QA specialist who is technically competent in all test levels, types and strategies who is also adaptive/responsive, collaborative and culturally fit as an agile team member.

What it takes to be a full-stack agile tester?

  • Notion of ‘Pair’. This includes
o   Pair negotiation- healthy debate
o   Pair strength – cross skilled
o   Pair understanding- less surprises
o   Seamless workflow- less handoff
o   Pair accountability- the notion of team entails shared accountability
  •  Become a USER PROXY- be in user's shoes and suggest improvements to the team. How to improve UX, challenge the initial requirements- help in fine tuning them.
  •  Work the extra mile in time of need
  •  Keep the team’s continuous attention to technical excellence
  • Have a test automation suite and handover repetitive tasks to it while saving time and effort in exploratory testing
  • Use ‘Swarming’ technique to finish a task in case of urgency with in the sprint
  • Build an ultra-collaborative relationship with the team by being genuine, honest , open and by being professionally pessimistic. Ask smart questions, make suggestions
  •  Play the dev/quality advocate role
o   Be a requirement champion, teach Devs how to do effective functional testing. Have good test cases created and share with the devs.
o   Remind maintainability/scalability/ other non-functional aspects during sprint planning/ other meetings

  •  Become T shaped skilled tester
o   While having a thorough knowledge about the product/ project you work, have the ability to work outside of core product. Have a sense of other products. When given quickly adapt to the situation and carry out testing 
  •  Finally get trained for what is lacking.

2 comments:

  1. Nice and informative article Tharinda. I like your word ‘full-stack agile tester’. So this tells how we need to change and the magnitude. If we don't try to change towards this, we might lose the opportunities to prove that we are the best in assuring the quality of a product.

    But, according to my experience, everyone does not need to be more technical oriented QAs. Because some are not into that and they're not passionate about tech things. In such scenarios, we can be more or less a quality enabler inside the team. In Tharinda’s article he mentioned this as ‘Play the dev advocate role’. I would like to change this to ‘Play the Quality advocate role’ not only to Devs, but also to the customers, stakeholders and to the management team.

    He can master the domain, he can bring automation into the project (Do not misunderstand that this is not only functional test automation), he can introduce nonfunctional aspects and emphasize customers to add specialized resources, he can be the process master, he can introduce quality matrixes in to the project, he can be a proxy PO which everyone asks requirements from him, he can be the connecting bridge between davs and operations. And so on and so forth.

    So I think as QAs, we have a lot of things to do rather than just upset about these tech stuff and keep complaining or bothering about the current challenges.

    If we can do these things, then the future of tester will be brighter than today and will be an integral part of the software industry for another few eras.

    Finally, keep posting such nice thoughts Tharinda and we can build a knowledge hub once we have started our initiative.

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  2. Thanks Anushka, I agree with your thoughts:) I first heard the term 'Full-stack' agile tester at a seminar conducted by Nalin Goonawardana -Head of QA- Leapset

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