Some people think software testing is a sub-activity of software development. Some think software testing is not exclusive to software development but to be made available to the entire business. Some think it belongs to itself.
These thoughts have caused divides in our community and have also helped in the shaping up of software testing because of innovation happening in each of the thoughts. Having spent 13 years being up close to software testing and seen trends with customers, training, tools, and the way Venture Capitalists think about software testing – I have some level of an understanding that I would like to share with you.
Who needs software to be tested and what is the trend in the last 3 years?
- Product Owners
- Software Developers (most)
- Business teams (Marketing, Sales)
- Customers (B2B space)
What does Product Owners want from software testing?
- High-Level Reports
- Support in testing new segments of the product
What does the software development team want from software testing?
- Automation for Build Stability Check
- Find bugs
- Do what users do with their code
- Give them the confidence to say “good enough”
- Good code and test coverage (some)
What does the Business team want from software testing?
- Claims made versus reality in the product
- Things they should be aware of before making a decision
- An independent view of the software and software quality
- Being able to speak to people who are free from the pressure of delivering a feature
What do customers in B2B want from software testing?
- An assurance of the quality
- An assurance to the requirements versus actual
- A way to protect themselves to only pay for value from the software provider
Who gets the attention of software testing?
- Software developers [Majority]
- B2B Customers [Not as much as they would benefit from]
Why Product Owners and Business teams are unable to harness the value from testing?
- They don’t know to ask for value.
- Most testers don’t know to deliver it.
- If they are too busy and too pressurized they are always happy if there is one less person to talk to.
What can Product Owners and Business Teams actually do with software testing?
- Product Owners can convert their hypothesis into test experiments and learn faster.
- Product Owners are missing emotions of testers and looking forward to capturing user emotions (which is too late to capture)
- Business teams are spending money sometimes in marketing the wrong thing about the product.
How does the above impact software testing?
- The only option for testers is to be of service to the dev teams.
- Anything software testing speaks about business and product looks like aliens or the previous era.
- The software testing reports only to the Engineering Head / CTO.
- The requirement to test software becomes a programming problem and not a business or product problem.
- The skills many testers have picked up to report various things to various teams go for waste.
- Software testers interact less with Product and Business and hence their awareness of how things work is reduced.
- Anything good a tester can do is to write automation scripts.
- The diversity with testers is going away.
How does this impact overall?
- Products are becoming complex to test: Product Owners continue to build things in ways that are becoming impossible to test. Android Instant Apps – they break one app to a hundred modules. Wow! Testing one app with the given fragmentation itself is a nightmare – now we have multiple modules of the multiple versions of the app on multiple versions of the OS sitting on customised hardware and Kernel with a manufacturer putting their own stamp of it. Are you kidding me to test this complexity?
- Shift to making profits is becoming a tough job? When Venture Capitalists ask people to shift from top-line improvement to bottom line improvement – organisations struggle to discover what they need to do. They need to undo a few things, not do. They need to undo the way they bind software testing as just a development activity and help software testing interact better with support teams, product teams and business teams.
Who does software testing belong to in 2017?
Wait – before that I want to tell you what software testing actually is. Software testing is a Mirror and MRI. That truly reflects how you look from the outside and inside. It is a mechanism to learn how are things before something occurs to a larger set of people. Software testing is not just a bomb squad who will find the bomb but software testing is the intelligence agency that will keep you informed of a possible threat.
Who does it belong to in 2017?
- It belongs to those who control it – Dev or Dev Ops.
- The Engineering Team have found a good use of software testing.
- The Product and Business teams have not yet found a good use case to use software testing service.
A reminder before you go away from here
- If you carefully read this piece – I am not saying – it is sad Software Testing is at the hands of Dev or DevOps.
- I am saying the Dev has found a good use of it – the others have not.
- There is so much work to do to improve software testing, software engineering, the way businesses operate and the way businesses perceive value from testing.
- Remember the Mirror. Remember the MRI. Remember the Bomb Squad. Remember the Intelligence Agency.