Monday, May 16, 2016

Explore a world without roles

I find that there might be a connection of the loud "role of a tester" discussion and messages like this that make us realize we are not as irreplaceable as we'd like to think.
It is very much same as the discussion I had after my session at AATC with one participant. High-level managers are looking at their organizations quality-related problems and coming to the conclusion that the highest priority change is to fix the source of badness, and testers as sin-eaters (a phrase I picked up from Jesse Alford) are part of a problem.

The tester-profession, on the other hand, has been trying to figure out value and role, to a point where it feels like rallying a campaign that has long ago lost it's focus and gotten lost on talking about role, not the problem we're trying to solve with a role.

I believe that in the greater scale of things, removing entire testing departments is good. One of the reasons I think this is good that looking at the ISTQB number of 500 000 testers, I've already seen my fair share of testers who just provide no value. There's also a fair share that do provide value, but there's more of testing value that developers can deliver than testers seem to give them credit for.

Removing the department of testing in the first phase wakes up the developers. They find ways. They will improve. I find it is often easy to become better than what you were with the separation with weak testers and weak collaboration.

But also, it gives the room for the new kind of testing to emerge. There will be things that the teams feel challenged with. And they will find people with exploratory testing mindset to fill in some of those gaps. They might want, primarily, that people with the mindset will also be able to code. Some get what they want and end up never using the programming ability to directly.

I'm growing tired of the focus on the tester profession as sub-optimization we're selling. I see the real-life problems with sub-optimizing testing, focusing on testing metrics over great products.

So I just want to explore this further: could there be other questions and approaches that would serve us better in creating the perfect world of software, where the special skills and abilities could come together than sticking to roles?