I just got back from the StarEAST conference in Orlando. It’s one of the major testing conferences in the U.S. every year. As in previous years, it was inspiring to see so many qualified testers and QA managers in one place. Speaker sessions were relevant, humorous and interesting, and from the list of topics, it is evident that both junior and veteran testers have started to adopt trends like agile testing and automation without ignoring things like exploratory testing, test management and planning. I would even go so far as to say many attendees were far beyond learning and embracing new trends; they’re eager to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty with automation tools, Agile practices and cross-functional teams. Testing is definitely a practice you can thrive in.
Unfortunately, there are still some clouds on the horizon (you saw it coming, didn’t you…). Jokes about “stupid developers” are still lurking in the corners, stories of “throwing things over the wall to development” still repeat themselves, and making fun of developer geekiness still prevails. Admittedly, I enjoyed these jokes as much as everyone else, but they always give me a bitter aftertaste; why is this barrier between testers and developers so hard to overcome? Shouldn’t we all be on the stage together talking about real-life experiences where testers and developers helped build great products – together? Shouldn’t we be sitting together running tests and debugging code to create the most beautiful software out there?
Ultimately, if we don’t overcome this cultural divide, how can we ever expect to do “real” Agile testing with testers and developers delivering great quality to our users - together?
The thing that bothers me the most here is that the time for this to happen has never been better! Let me make my case:
And to top this all off, the whole Agile movement is leading the way! Remember, Agile is all about communication, collaboration and cross-functional teams, which is exactly what needs to be in place to overcome the “legacy” prejudices still prevailing between developers and testers.
So what can you do today? Many of us (including me) instinctively feel that breaking cultural barriers like those described above is hard, even if there are a lot of things going for it. But I think we also all recognize the benefits at hand, and the opportunity given. Many speakers at StarEAST touched upon this subject. Here are a couple of their suggestions for breaking down these walls:
Maybe I’m knocking on an open door here. Have you already torn down the wall between developers and testers in your team? Are they all joking together about sales and marketing? Share your insights or objections with us – I for one would love to hear your story!