Future of testers: somewhere between users, teams and businesses

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3 minute read

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what the future of the testers role could look like. Especially in teams that not only fully embrace CI/CD or DevOps but actually get some way towards implementing the ideas behind the approaches.

I’ve broken up my thinking into two posts with the first about whats could happen and this follow up on what testers could do next…

Raising quality awareness in teams

Raising quality in teams isn’t about banging the drum of “We need to make this a quality product” or showing how the product failed some quality criteria e.g. raising a defect. It’s about helping the team understand what quality is and what that means for their system. To be able to do this testers need to be able to articulate what quality means and then apply this to their teams context.

Not sure what quality awareness is then see my earlier post on Building a Quality Culture: Is it Quality Assurance or Quality Awareness

For each tester this context will be unique to their environment. But in a large part, this will be based on how their team works, what their organisation expect that team to produce and who their end users are. Simply put, testers will sit at this intersection of teams, business and users.

Teams

This view point is all about understanding how the team works through their combination of tools, processes, technology, the people involved and what the resulting output is. How does the team do what it does but also why does it do it the way it does.

Business domain

This viewpoint is about understanding the organisation that the team works in. Why does the business exist? What is it trying to accomplish? Yes you can argue that pretty much all businesses are trying to make a profit but how exactly is it trying to do that? Is it by selling advertising, software as a service, access to some physical world good? What is your companies unique selling point? How does it compete against other companies? What external factors affects its ability to achieve its mission? How does the organisation expect the team to contribute to its mission?

Users

This viewpoint is probably the one most familiar to testers as this has been a view they’ve almost always considered. Who are the systems users and what do they expect from it? But they should take this view and expended it further. Why do the users take their time to use your product over others? What do they find valuable about it? Why do some users stay but others leave? Are these the intended people that your organisation expected to use it? Are the users the actual people who pay for the product or does someone else? Who is that someone else and why do they pay for it? Testers should take their time to build, broaden and deepen their understanding of the users, intended users and future users.

At the intersection of teams, business and users

Due to the subjective nature of quality, tester need to understand the reasons behind others views of what quality means to them. These three core areas give the testers the foundational knowledge to do just that.

Now armed with this knowledge and the why of their stakeholders quality measures they can begin to translate this into something their teams can understand and incorporate into their daily work. It’s within this translation/incorporate that you can begin to create a quality culture that isn’t about demanding quality, but creating the understanding of what it means within your teams context.

Context contains teams, business & users
Context contains teams, business & users
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