The status of the testing phase and the role of the software tester are challenged and changing as organizations transition from a classical waterfall methodology to software development towards Agile approaches like Scrum. In his article “Reinventing Testers and Testing to prepare for the Future”, Patrick Prill shares his opinion about this situation and provides some hints for the evolution of software testing and the software tester role.
Patrick Prill starts his article by discussing the problem of adapting the traditional software testing phase performed at the end of the development cycle to the new short iterative software delivery approach. He makes also some very interesting comments about the staffing of software testers: “Testers in general have a problem they didn’t cause. Testing was seen as simple task on one hand and was tried to be kept cheap on the other, since it added no value to the product, so many cheap people from various backgrounds were hired into testing jobs. The career opportunities in most companies are usually to step up some ladder and move out of testing positions. So the best testers were simply lost to other disciplines over time, because of the lack of opportunities in their profession. And I also claim that a good portion of people who stay in testing more than 5 years lack motivation to improve or don’t lack laziness. They just stay there because that’s all they think they can do and they have a safe job.” Thus for him the overall quality of the software testers is not high.
Discussing the testing activity in Agile approaches, Patrick Prill sees a trend toward eliminating any intervention of software testers, leaving developers check themselves the quality of their code using approaches like Test-Driven Development (TDD) or Behavior-Driven Development (BDD). According to him, a majority of software testers should get a new job. He thinks also that software testing should be shifted towards the beginning of the development activities as far as possible and that regression testing should be limited to the absolute minimum. His vision of future testers are that they “should take care of the bigger picture, things that are hard to automate, cope with complex problems. Testers should help developers to create good automated scripts, help them to understand and test the application and train them to do the simple tests earlier and faster and provide feedback faster.”
This long article if very interesting to read and full of opinionated perspectives about the software tester profession and the software testing activity from somebody who has a passion for software testing. You can see it in the last sentence of the article: “Be proud to be a tester!”