Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tester / Programmer happiness in specialization

Browsing through Twitter, I run into an interesting question:
At first I thought, what *happy*means? That there's never any negative emotions? No frustration? But with a little pondering, I came to the conclusion that happy is just in relation to being happy without the separate roles.

I believe that in the last four years in particular, me and my programmers have had a decently happy co-existence with separate developer and testing roles.

When we need to dig in deep into the code and figure out adding a functionality or a fix, programmers know their way around (as in reminding themselves what was there, none remembers this stuff by heart). When we think we're clear on what we're building or what we've built, I dig in deep to see flaws and omissions.

Surely, I touch code. Surely, programmers test. But that is not what makes our roles separate. The separation comes from deep development of skills that sometimes appears like magic.

With the separate roles, some of the best experiences come from mob programming. Mentally connected and engaged, sharing a purpose without sharing the role. Paying attention to different details. And correcting things as they emerge without ego in play.

Not that there's much ego in play in everyday life too. I've been fortunate enough to work with programmers who get praised for good quality they deliver (with me) who remember things were different (without me). They invite my feedback. They test themselves yet miss connections.

Me and my programmers are not bored. We are not helpless and powerless. We're just as respected (and valued in financial terms) and supporting one another.

We work together well. I can't say that about all the groups I've worked with as tester.

My sources of unhappiness don't come out of the separate tester / developer roles. They come from either role having *unskilled* people who *refuse to learn*. With or without the role separation, these types of people need to first get out of the idea that bad work is acceptable day in and out.

Natalie asks in her tweet chain: "When the tester role works, what does that look like?"

It looks like mutual caring and respect, and drive for deep skills and improvement to create awesome products in collaboration.