Skills and Attributes Agile Testers Need to Thrive | TechWell

Skills and Attributes Agile Testers Need to Thrive

When it comes to agile, we continue to see the burden of personal and professional growth falling on the tester. Although everyone in the software development lifecycle is being asked to adopt new skills and adapt to the increased speed of operations, testers might just have the fullest plate.

And as we all know, it’s not easy to just change what you’ve been doing in a matter of weeks or months. Even if you’re a fast learner and someone ready and willing to try new things, it takes time to become proficient at coding or any other aspects of development.

However, before you can learn the technical skills, it’s critical to nail down the communication skills and helpful attributes that allow you to thrive within a team. Janet Gregory, an agile testing coach and process consultant with DragonFire, recently detailed the skills a modern tester needs to not only adapt, but thrive.

“If you are working on (or with) an off-shore team, you likely need to develop your written communication skills so you can put issues/answers into easily understood words,” Gregory explains. “If you are working within a co-located agile team, then you need to be able to actively participate in any discussions, ask your questions fearlessly, pair with other team members, and articulate risks. You also need to find ways to make your testing results visible.”

Communication is more important than ever, with developers and testers working together more closely. You can no longer think of the “development” and “testing” stages as diametrically opposed sides of the process—in order to succeed, developers and testers need to communicate and work as a unit.

Additionally, Gregory points to three unique characteristics that testers need if they hope to modernize their skill sets. It starts with creativity, which allows you to look at a problem from different angles with hopes to overcome personal biases that might be dragging the process down.

Similarly, flexibility gives you the ability to listen to other opinions, take them into account, and leave room in your mind to change your thinking based on the new information. If you’re not flexible as a tester, you won’t be able to learn from the developers and software professionals around you.

Lastly, Gregory pushes tenacity for all testers—encouraging them to address misunderstandings and be persistent.

“Tenacity usually pays off because we didn’t have a shared understanding of the problem or solution,” she says. “It might be that I had a different connotation of a specific phrase, or perhaps they didn’t understand my concerns. I think it is better to find out early than after the code has been written.”

It’s not easy to change on the fly, but the above skills allow testers to thrive in our agile world.

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