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:
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/