Month: June 2013

Misdemeanor of Software Testing teams in an Agile process model

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Recently during a Software Testing Seminar, I happened to hear from an esteemed testing professional who was one of the key speakers, wherein he was ruing about Testers and as such Software Testing being a secondary need and testers being the poor child that would typically be given the leftovers from a planning perspective. He did highlight a few aspects wherein the Testing industry has evolved as a specialized domain and also reached a certain level of standardization during the last decade, and the lack of support and insight that we get from an educational aspect where professional testers are not made but are those that become testers by accident.
I myself being associated with software testing for over a decade now do believe that yes it is a rightful articulation of the real atmosphere. But at the same time, I also have had strong reasons to state that we need to be gaining this right and not just by presence. This makes me today to touch upon this topic which I find very relevant from what is happening in the recent past around the delivery model being Agile. The advent of Agile has been a great weapon for technology teams to bargain and obtain the budget they think is duly required from Business. I do believe there has been a greater adoption of Agile by companies and teams across the geography since it has served as a magic wand to provide solutions at a quicker interval and hence also loosened the purse from Business, which started to have serious thoughts of the real return in value to the funding they have actually been carrying out.
My personal experience of Agile has been that we have been hitting higher cost and at the same time expected rate of success has not been anything to be significantly higher compared to a existing iterative cycle. I have also seen that teams have taken this mandate leading to an environment that thrives in executing in an adhoc process, which keeps sight of only the near term and not the big picture and most importantly the end customer need.
Software Testing teams are expected to be the gatekeepers of Customers requirements and expectations. However, sadly we at most times end up taking instructions and following what is expected to be done. In order for the Software Testing Community to have its relevance felt and also be an influencer it is required for us to be proactive in developing our own view point and able to articulate and stand by our opinion. Software testing teams will be effective when we don’t limit ourselves to understanding a user story or a piece of information. But also take up the role of custodians that can alert and help the technology teams in piecing together the end to end Customer requirements. We have an opportunity to take the lead in drawing attention to the systems larger course and being vocal during the initial phases of the SDLC much before the code is developed and deployed for testing to start. A true testing team should be in charge at the onset of requirements and be confident in propagating methods of evolving the system with standard and continual documentation and not something that is sewed together with bits and pieces of stories that lead to a situation typically disappointing or surprising the customers. Testers will truly be able to create a space by speaking right and not just seeking right. Agile presents this opportunity for Software Testing teams to establish their value and seat on the table which is truly due.