Evaluating Testers in Agile Team
Recently, I was invited to conduct a workshop around "Whole Team Testing" at Test Leadership Congress in New York. Participating in this conference has been a great experience, especially because I truly believe in the need for conferences dedicated to test leadership and career path for testers in changing era.
The discussions I had there with fellow testers, leads and directors of engineering/testing were interesting. Well, not only interesting but insightful and with lots of ideas, concerns, observations to ponder upon. Out of the things we discussed, what held my attention the most was the growing concern of evaluation of testers in Agile teams. The evaluation can be for hiring or for their overall performance in team.
What is the problem exactly?
If you analyze the trend from State of Testing report, it is evident that with increasing Agile adoption, centralized testing units are mostly getting dissolved and testers are now reporting to Dev/Team leads. With this change of structure, hiring new testers and evaluating those in teams naturally becomes the responsibility of the Dev/Team leads. And this is where things start to get interesting. How? Let's take a look.
Dev leads are usually excellent programmers with high passion and inclination towards typical programmer mindset. And this is very natural. Not all of the leads come with prior experience of hands-on testing, nor all are well versed with testing mindset and philosophy -- which is key differentiator between testers and programmers. The way programming excellence comes with deep understanding of programming concepts and ample hands-on experience of coding, it is quite natural that to understand testing better (and to evaluate people for testing skills) one must have equivalent expertise, or, at least, deep understanding of the subject. And this is something our industry is still lacking. But despite of this all, teams still need testers and they must be hired.
I am going to cover some tips for hiring managers and team leads without testing background on how they should evaluate testers -- by looking beyond automation/coding skills.
Lalit is working with XING SE, Germany as Senior Test Engineer. He is Chief Editor and Co-founder of “Tea-time with Testers” magazine. He is testing coach and consultant with a specialization in Rapid Software Testing methodology and BBST foundations by AST, USA.
Lalit is also the co-creator of the “State of Testing Survey” project, which is the largest testing survey in the world. He likes helping organizations for on-boarding them with Context Driven Testing and provides on-demand consultation around implementing the same at work.
Reach out to Lalit via Twitter @Lalitbhamare or @TtimewidTesters