Testing Isn't Dead, but Agile Has Changed It for Good
The adoption of agile—which has taken place within both small teams and massive organizations—has changed the tester’s role. We can try to deny it all we like, but the more collaborative and iterative nature of agile development has made it more difficult to hold on to a classic testing position.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s time for testers to pack up their things and sulk out the door. The “testing is dead” narrative doesn’t tell the whole story, and according to Karen Greaves, an agile coach and trainer at Growing Agile, it’s much more about changing the way we think about testing rather than taking it out of the process.
“... [W]e see teams that have adopted agile and haven’t changed the way they test. There is no way that traditional testing approaches can keep pace with teams that are delivering new functionality every week or two,” Greaves explained to InfoQ. “Unfortunately, at first, it often takes its toll on testers who end up working overtime at the end of the sprint to try to catch up.”
Sam Laing, who will be delivering a keynote with Greaves at Agile Testing Days 2015, added that the role of the tester has grown from simply doing all the testing to educating the rest of the team on how to effectively and efficiently test software.
Testing can’t become an afterthought, even with agile and continuous delivery pushing organizations to release new versions of applications sometimes daily. If testers bury their heads in the sand and ignore everything that’s happening within the industry, they won’t be able to evolve quickly enough to stay relevant.
If testers can’t remain relevant and refuse to adapt and evolve, we’ll continue to see poor-performing, buggy, incomplete software that didn’t get the proper attention on real devices. If an organization wants to establish and maintain a user base, that can’t happen.
Instead of pushing testers away as we try to develop software as quickly as possible, it’s critical to increase the value of testing in agile. The tester needs to be flexible, with the testing team integrating itself deeply into the agile process. This will allow agile testers to evolve beyond simply finding faults to instead join forces with the agile team to achieve quality along each step of the process.
Testing isn’t going to die if we give it room to grow. As long as testers are willing to accept change, the profession has a bright future, and TechWell’s Michael Sowers puts the onus on the industry to determine its own future.
“What is the future of our testing profession? We own it and we have the ability to influence it, and we can allow it to see its demise or see it continue to thrive.”