Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Right Time for Testing

There is one significant challenge working as tester with my current team: self-allocating work to fit the right priorities. With 12 people in the team, significant responsibilities of both owning our components test automation & other testing as well as accepting work into the system we are responsible for releasing in our internal open source community, there's a lot of moving parts.

In times before agile, a common complaint from testers was that we were not allowed to join the efforts early. But now we are always there. Yet yesterday someone mentioned not getting to be in the new feature effort early enough. With many things going on, being on time is a choice one has to make personally, to let go of some of the other work and trust other people in the team (developers) can test too.

With incremental delivery, you can't really say what is "early" and what is "late". Joining today means you have a chance of influencing anything and everything over the course of improving it. There is no "it was all decided before the efforts started". That's an illusion. We know of some of the requirements. We're discovering more of them. And testers play a key role in discovering requirements.

We've been working on a major improvement theme since June. Personally, I was there to start the effort. Testing was there first. We're discussing timing, as I'm handing the "my kind of testing" responsibility to another senior, who is still practicing some of the related skills. They join later than I joined. But the right  time for all of testing is always today: never too early, never too late.

Yesterday I was looking into helping them getting into the two new areas I do regularly that they are getting started on: requirements in incremental delivery, and unit tests within current delivery. 
I made a choice by the end of the day. I will choose unit tests and fixing a new developer. The other will choose requirements and fixing future iterations.

To succeed in either, we cannot be manual testing robots doing things automation could do for us. We're in this for a greater discovery that includes identifying things worth repeating. Exploratory testing feeds all other ways of testing and developing.

The right time for testing is today. Make good choices on what you use that time on. There's plenty of choices available, and you're the one making them even when choosing to do what others suggested or commanded.