It's Time to Wake Up the Tester in You
We live in a world driven by end user experience—a world of services and a world of options, which is very different from even five years ago. While the test team still primarily owns product quality, quality is evolving to be an overall team responsibility.
Every discipline—design, development, business, marketing, or operations—has its own role to play in shipping a user-ready and competitive product. This is partly driven by the increasing role of services in current day product development models, with fast time to market and dynamic responses to user needs, and partly by the collaborative nature of how teams operate.
Regardless of the development lifecycle adopted, testing is not an isolated task anymore. This is even more true in the agile world, which emphasizes a collective ownership of quality.
Amazon's homepage outage was a very rare event, and for such a heavily used e-commerce site, this is a significant issue, especially on the homepage. One can easily imagine the resources that were deployed to work on resolving this issue right away to mitigate potential customer impact and financial losses.
Boeing's 787 battery issue is well-known news now that the 787s have been globally grounded since January 16, 2013. Boeing is working night and day with engineers worldwide to identify and resolve the battery errors that have concerned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from a security standpoint.
The people assigned to work on this issue are engineers and technicians across disciplines who need to wear their testing hats to identify the root cause of the issue. Most recently, the FAA has approved in-flight tests to be conducted, and the first test flight was monitored by several experts, including pilots and test personnel.
These two examples demonstrate why engineers need to possess basic debugging, troubleshooting, and testing skills rather than having to rely on testers to identify and isolate issues. Given the growing importance of testing and its collective ownership, testers have a significant role in empowering cross-discipline group members to be successful testers in their own right.
This could mean simple things such as sharing automated testing scripts with developers and operations teams, discussing user scenarios with the business and marketing teams, working with developers in identifying unit tests, and discussing and walking through test strategies, plans, and scenarios with the product team.
These simple tasks not only help others become better testers and enhance team collaboration but they also create time for testers to focus on more important quality tasks—which ultimately help the entire team move toward a path of greater product quality.