Agile Testers Shouldn’t Be Enablers
Testers shouldn’t be the last line of defense. More and more, concepts like agile and DevOps are involving various members of software teams in several different roles. If everyone hopes to work together in an iterative manner, you need to have a basic understanding of how the entire process works.
However, testing has often been seen as the final stage of creating an application. Since we weren’t shifting testing left as much as we do today, a great deal of work was thrown on the testing team at the very end of an exhausting project cycle.
Testers were like editors in that they checked the work and allowed the writers to submit incomplete first drafts. Lingering, major issues would have to be ironed out in a hurry before the product was pushed out the door.
Sure, plenty of testing still happens at the end of the process, but according to Melissa Tondi, the founder of Denver Mobile and Quality, testers shouldn’t see themselves as martyrs who need to stay in the office late hours at night before release to help carry the rest of the team home.
“Many times we were one of the last people, or the last teams in a very aggressive project schedule. We looked around the office or on the weekend, and all the sudden, we were the only ones there,” Tondi said during an interview at STARWEST. “We were kind of taking on that martyr mentality again, kind of maybe equating that to being a hero. Whereas it really kind of put this enabling type of attitude in there.”
By perpetuating that expectation that the testers will take care of all the problems at the end, they enable the rest of the team to lean on them in an unfair capacity. The more collaborative nature of software should change this dynamic, and Tondi feels testers need to be more vocal to stop this attitude.
“Where we really kind of thought we were the heroes and saved the day, what we really did was encourage that behavior that really, especially those of us who are embracers of the agile approach, it really just caused negative impacts,” she continued. “By not saying anything, and by kind of taking that on continuously, we really encouraged that bad behavior.”
Testers help assure quality, but they aren’t just there to clean up messes. As a tester, you shouldn’t enable those around you to treat you as anything less than an equal member of the team.