Junaid Valimulla: Are we nearly there yet?

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Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

Guest post from Junaid Valimulla currently working as a Senior Test Engineer who is continually learning and honing his craft. I first met Junaid back in my Sony Ericssion days as a Test Analyst and was always impressed with his ability to pick things up quickly and to start helping teams deliver on their goals but most of all his great sense of humour.

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did as I think his metaphor so aptly describes what a lot of us as testers have felt.

Are we nearly there yet?

Every parent can attest to hearing these words at least once in their life. It is often said by a frustrated child who has has been jailed in the back of the car for what seems like a lifetime to them whilst on a journey to their grandparent’s house.

Now if we look at this from a tester perspective, it become obvious that it is not too dissimilar to the question uttered by many a tester all too often:

“Are we ready to test yet?”

Except in this case the tester is the frustrated child, the developer is the parent driving the car and the grandparent’s house is the ready to test column!

This is the age-old problem, which must change if we are to work in a truly agile environment. Testing has to be seen less as the thing that happens at the end and more of the thing that happens throughout! Testers need to be collaborated with, right from the kick off. The old cumbersome approach encourages the ‘throw over the wall’ mentality, which often leads to a build up of tickets and testing tasks and reaffirms the notion that testing is a bottleneck.

This change can be achieved but requires a number of things to happen. First and foremost their needs to be a mind set change from all parties. This is not just the testers, but developers, designers etc. All those that are involved with the creation of the product need to buy in to the collective responsibility mantra. This however is not something a tester can change and possibly influence alone.

Another thing that can be done and is something I believe the tester can drive, is make changes to the scrum board. Every team I have worked in has had a ‘Ready for test’ or ‘Testing’ column. A column, which ALWAYS comes after the ‘Development’ column. This has to change. This column, this simple yet powerful column undoes all that we are trying achieve. This column maintains the old tired way of thinking.

So, for testing to really be recognised on the board it must be removed off it? Really?? This may sound contradictory but it is the only way that testing will be seen as an on going task performed throughout rather than the bottleneck ‘bit at the end’! No longer will tickets be in ‘Development’ for developers and ‘Testing’ for testers. They will be ‘In Progress’ for all to work together and collaborate. This will encourage conversation between testers and developers, encourage faster feedback and ultimately require less testing at the end! Which is what we all want right?

To conclude what columns would I have then? Simple:

  • Ready for Sprint/Ready to pick up
  • In Progress
  • Done


More about Junaid:

Senior Test Engineer (BBC Sport App) with over 13 years experience working in the testing discipline. Testing software for a number of companies ranging from Mobile OS’s and Apps, Websites, TV STB’s, Wireless Routers and everything in-between!

You can find him on Twitter

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