BY CONTRIBUTOR ON MARCH 16, 2017 |
Software testers have seen their careers go through some ups and downs in recent years. In the days of Waterfall, the tester’s job was clearly defined. Like other functions of software development and delivery, testers lived in a neat and tidy universe, testing features and design, finding bugs, sending back feedback to developers for correction and eventually, passing off code to the production people to work their magic. Testers had discrete roles with strong value propositions in the software organization.
Then, Agile came along and new teams were created, lumping together developers, QA and Ops people for the sake of better collaboration and efficiencies. This began to create some confusion regarding who was responsible for what, when.
DevOps brought order to the process, adding automation to every step, speeding cycles and reducing bottlenecks in a highly standardized, streamlined approach. In the continuous delivery pipeline, each step of the process creates its own contract for software quality—and that’s good.
Development teams still value high quality, which customers demand. Yet in some DevOps circles, there’s been talk that testers aren’t needed much anymore. They bring bottlenecks to the process, forcing developers to work outside of the DevOps toolsets for code management and testing to respond to a defect ticket posted by the tester in an issue tracking tool.
Eliminating that layer of process helps developers be as efficient as possible using continuous integration (CI) tools, proponents say. As well, some developers are more than comfortable handling testing, using test-driven development (TDD) methodologies.
On the other hand, there’s faulty thinking here. Testers, whether deploying manual or automated testing methods, provide a valuable second set of technical eyes. Testers have a solid take on the user experience perspective, not just the fact that the code executes correctly.
This human behavior and design insight is critical to the ultimate success of a software application. Finally, not all developers want to spend time testing nor have the skills to do so outside of unit testing.
Moving forward into this new age of DevOps, testers play a vital role. The distribution of the tester into each phase of development (rather than at the end) is necessary to maintain both high standards of delivery and to keep communications fluid between different parties.
Here’s how testers can contribute to DevOps teams: