Testing is dead, that’s what they said in the news

Testing is dead, that’s what they said in the news.

I disagree, but I think it’s getting confused.

There has been a lot of talk on whether or not “testing” is dead.

At EuroSTAR last year it was an over-riding theme and it generated a lot of talk about what the future holds for Testers.

Trying to predict what Testing will look like in the future will always be limited by our inability to gain an agreed definition of what Testing currently looks like. I don’t believe that trying to pigeon hole Testing is a good idea anyway (but that’s a different post)

So to talk about a future of Testing when we aren’t even sure what the current view of Testing is seems to me to be a fruitless task. I know; I’ve tried in the past and failed hence I focus now on what trends I see and what challenges we may face.

What becomes so painfully clear when widening your awareness to understand how Testing is done in other companies and domains is that Testing is incredibly diverse (and often surprising).

A future idea about Testing (or techniques for achieving good Testing) for one person could be an old fashioned approach for another person. Both may be valid for their contexts and both may or may not be future orientated; it depends where you personally stand.

For example human tickbox testing (often called “checking”) is very much alive and well in some industries and it shows no sign of going away (sadly). It’s a very buoyant market and a huge number of “Checkers” are employed doing it. I can’t see this market going away soon; so is Testing dead?

I don’t believe Checking is Testing, but now we’re arguing Semantics when we talk about Testing is Dead (i.e. do we mean Checking is dead?).

Exploratory Testing is the future for some people, but a tried and tested approach for others.

Testing is not dead. It’s just changing…for some people, in some industries. Just like the world is changing…for some people, in some industries.

Good Testers will do good Testing no matter how their world changes. They may just approach it differently, with a different mindset and different set of tools and techniques and approaches.

Those that don’t adapt will find their value diminishing, but that doesn’t mean Testing is dead.

Unit testing is testing. Acceptance testing is testing. UX testing is testing. AB testing is testing. Testing in live is testing. Design reviewing is testing. A Story chat is a form of testing.

Testing is changing (for some people). The people doing testing are changing. But Testing is still happening. And Testing will continue to happen.

Talking to people at EuroSTAR it became increasingly clear there were two very distinct camps of thinking about the death of Testing, with a number of blended ideas in-between.

Camp 1 was people who were terrified of the future and what it might bring. Camp 2 was people who embraced the future and all of the change it could bring.

I for one am firmly in Camp 2. I’m excited about the change and challenges and the technology we’ve yet to see. Yet I know there are many who are scared. I think a lot of this fear comes from not knowing what the future may hold and not being able to visualise yourself working in these new environments.

The biggest problem for most people around the future of testing is an inability to forecast themselves and their skills into a job they don’t believe exists (or are willing to believe exists).

This comes out as resistance to change; Cloud will never come to their domain: Agile will never work where they work: Sitting with Programmers will never work in their environments: Virtualisation will never work because it’s BLAH BLAH BLAH.

But the world IS changing and a key skill a good tester needs to possess is the ability to understand how their world is changing, how their skills will be valued in this changing world and what they need to do to future proof themselves. A good Tester will adapt.

At EuroSTAR a lady said that Cloud and Agile would never come to her industry because it’s impossible to achieve and the industry wouldn’t accept it. Her industry is Call Centre software. Well guess what? I work in the Call Centre Industry and our product is cloud based and we develop it in an Agile/Lean approach. Testing is never as Black and White as we may initial think. There is never a Best and only way.

Refusing the future will not work either. Predicting the future is impossible also. But being adaptable in your approach, your skills, your understanding and your learning will certainly help the future seem less scary.

The only constant is change.

The future will happen.

Testing will still happen.

The only question is: “Will it be you doing this testing?”

 

More Testing Is Dead posts:

Scott Barber – http://scott-barber.blogspot.com/2011/11/on-alleged-death-of-testing.html

Ben Kelly – http://testjutsu.com/2011/11/software-testing-still-not-going-away/

Matt Heusser – http://www.softwaretestpro.com/Item/5352

Google GTAC conference – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1jWe5rOu3g

Arborosa on Testing is Dead – http://arborosa.org/2012/01/11/is-testing-dead/

http://rvansteenbergen.blogspot.com/2011/12/testing-is-dead-because.html

 

8 Replies to “Testing is dead, that’s what they said in the news”

  1. thoughtful article… except you should have left out the “checking” references.you state: “‘checking’ is very much alive and well in some industries and it shows no sign of going away (sadly).”then you go on to say “Unit testing is testing. Acceptance testing is testing”.but… not according to the gurus! That stuff is just “checking”! My unit tests *always* follow a script and check assertions. sure, they might have been designed in an exploratory manner.. but it’s a check, not a test?talking about “checking” vs. “testing” is the largest time-sink i’ve seen in the test-world in a long time… so I drop the distinction. testing is testing.also.. don’t consider this a “comment”. it is a “response”. I can launch a multi-year campaign and waste thousands of hours of mental time breaking down the difference between the 2 if you’d like :)regards,-Corey

  2. Did that heart icon just eat my comment? I hate web technology sometimes. In case you didn’t get my comment, I rewrote it here.http://www.testthisblog.com/2011/10/james-whittakers-starwest-keynote.html <<->A job requires producing value. Nobody is promised a job. Testers need to create value (make sure software is good) in addition to improving value (upgrade themselves). Ways to do this are: improve efficiency through scripting, improve efficiency through design analysis, extend quality injection through mentoring others (even developers). VCR’s were once good, but their value is too low now. Don’t be a VCR.

  3. Hi Corey,Thanks for the response and yep, I’d made the mistake of not clarifying my position on the checking. I’ve amended the article in response to your response :)I actually find the checking versus testing really useful in explaining the value add to both internal and external customers. There’s a lot of confusion in the testing domain about the different “approaches” or “styles” of testing and I find this semantic difference makes it easier to explain. That’s my experience though. I know many people don’t share that same view.Thanks for taking the time to write a response.Many ThanksRob..

  4. Hi Dave,Thanks for the response. I like your analogy towards a VCR. We do need to add value to our businesses and clients and we certainly need to add value to ourselves. Thanks for taking the time to respond.Rob..I

  5. Rob – Also see this article:http://mtomlins.blogspot.com/2011/12/test-is-dead-they-say-long-live-test.html—“Alberto Savoia suggests that software testing is dead.”—get’s reworded into—“Through the promotion of his own book, a founder of multiple Silicon Valley start-ups who has received significant revenue, recognition and numerous awards suggests (philosophically) that innovative start-ups should consider that the dominantly successful products and practices for testing a new product’s market viability are dead and that they should adopt the pretotyping approach as an alternative.”—

  6. Hi Rob,Great post. From what I have seen the main sources of the “testing is dead” mindset have been born from a very specific market of high volume, web based consumer sites where staged rollout and limited testing may be appropriate.The other posts you reference show that there is a strong feeling on this subject in the community and, for the most part, iI have seen a considered and rational response, accepting that there are changes going on in the profession but also opportunities for those that are willing to adapt. The manner and pace by which we develop has to be competetive and our testing has to evolve to support that. “and what they need to do to future proof themselves”Here is the hey point for me – I’ve started gathering some thoughts on ways that testers can adapt their roles to proect themselves in some posts starting here : – http://www.a-sisyphean-task.com/2012/01/survival-of-fit-tester-1-get-engaged….Cheers,Adam.

  7. Rob – Also see this article:http://mtomlins.blogspot.com/2011/12/test-is-dead-they-say-long-live-test.html“Alberto Savoia suggests that software testing is dead.”get’s reworded into “Through the promotion of his own book, a founder of multiple Silicon Valley start-ups who has received significant revenue, recognition and numerous awards suggests (philosophically) that innovative start-ups should consider that the dominantly successful products and practices for testing a new product’s market viability are dead and that they should adopt the pretotyping approach as an alternative.”

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