QASymphony Webinar Q&A Follow Up

Thanks everyone for attending my webinar with Tekmark and QASymphony – I had a great time doing it and there were so many questions we grouped them into themes. Here are my answers and as usual, these are just like, my opinions. Hope to see you all on the conference circuit soon! Cheers!

Q: Will manual testers still have a job in the market after test automation?

A: As I said in the webinar, in my over 20 years in this business I have never fired a tester because we automated their job away. That being said, if you are not remaining relevant to your company’s culture, meaning; congruent with their technical requirements, providing valuable information, tuned into the products/customers, then yes, you might have something to worry about. At the end of the day, I don’t believe of have seen evidence of  “manual” testers being any more at risk of being made redundant that other roles.

Q: How can be “devops” be beneficial for testers?

A: Any attempt to push testing further up-stream and get a higher quality product out to customers is ultimately a good thing. There are lots of opportunities for tester to increase the scope and coverage of testing in a “devops” environment, but as well, that term has become a bit “buzz-wordy” lately. I’ve seen in enterprise IT shops that “devops” has been interpreted as automated unit tests and release processes which have the ability to change the traditional relationship of “testers as checkers” to more meaningful and deeper testing.

Q: Isn’t rise of DevOps killing concept of having Testing CoE?

A: My opinion is that the Testing CoE is dying under its own operational weight and limited ability to adapt to more modern delivery methods. DevOps might be an accelerator, but some of the archaic aspects of Testing CoEs are more than likely their downfall.

Q: As a tester how do I leverage these market disruptions for my growth and career? What skills or new technologies should I learn?

A: I tend to spend a lot of time talking about communication and articulating your test approach in regards to your business, which in my opinion are both skills that can be practiced and learned. As for good testing practices I would point you to the following from my good friend Michael Bolton:

Q: What would be your suggestions on improving test reporting?

A: Focus less on numbers and counting things and more on qualitative measures. Paul Holland gave a good talk on testing reporting, but as we are trying to tell a story about the multi-dimensional aspects of quality with our reporting, I concentrate our energy on lists of defects, coverage, effort, and risks. 

Q: What are your thoughts on moving testing completely to a 3rd party vs in house TCoE?

A: My first piece of advice when people are planning to build a TCoE is simple: don’t. Now obviously these decisions are made for a lot of reasons (primarily commercial), so I have a series of heuristics I use to evaluate whether a CoE is functioning properly. You can hear more of my thoughts on this in my recent keynote “Lessons Learned in (Selling) Software Testing” here, but in short, here’s the list:

Q: From an agile testing perspective, do you find that clients are interested in testing full agile or hybrid agile-waterfall?

A: My experience is that our clients and prospects in enterprise tech are extremely confused as to what “agile” actually is, despite all the information available. I have done with clients that have termed their approach “wagile” (my personal favorite), especially where they are cobbling together a new digital/mobile strategy into their legacy technology. Personally, I don’t care what approach you use as long as you are “context aware”, meaning you are going into it with eyes wide open focussing on communication, business value, people/culture, and make the mission of testing actionable information. 

Q: Will there be a link to the research paper Keith mentioned earlier?

A: Here you go…

Q: Curious where we can get the book “Software Testing as a Martial Art”. Can’t find it online…

A: Bingo! Here it is…

Q: Can you elaborate on PLATO Testing in Kitchner?

A: From their website…awesome idea, great people…just hire them! 

“At PLATO Testing, we are developing and leveraging a network of Aboriginal software testers across Canada.  PLATO Testing provides outsourced testing solutions to clients throughout North America, with a focus on projects that would have previously been sent offshore.

Established by industry veteran, and PQA Testing founder, Keith McIntosh, PLATO Testing addresses the technology talent shortage in Canada and brings meaningful training and employment to Aboriginal people.

Working with PLATO Testing, whether as a client or as part of the team, makes a positive impact.”

References from the webinar…

QASymphony Tekmark Global Solutions World Quality Report Curtis Sturhenberg ACM Test First Research Paper Richard Bradshaw Chaos Monkey Dan Billing Guardian CD Alex  Handy Romanian Testing Conference Copenhagen Context Test Bash Brighton Software Testing as a Martial Art David Greenlees Scott Berkun Angie Jones Paul Holland Nancy Kelln Smita Mishra Ash Coleman Martin Hynie Vernon Richards Santhosh Tuppad Huib Schoots Alexandra Shladenbeck John Stevenson Trish Khoo Plato Testing Keith McIntosh KWSQA New York Testers Rob Lambert