11 - 13 May 2016

thestudio, Manchester, UK

Are your testers valuable?

Liz Pope Holiday Extras

Session type: Case Study
Session duration: 45 minutes

About this Case Study

My session is based on my experiences as a tester and from managing and working with testers. It's a case study, but I want to get participants involved so that they feel they can ask questions and get as much from the session as possible.

I’ll start by getting a show of hands for different job titles (eg devs in the room, testers in the room etc). I’ll then ask a couple of people to share with me why they’ve come along - is there anything specific they or their team struggle with in terms of integrating testers, or helping testers (and others) understand why they are valuable? I’ll write these on a flipchart and cross them off as I cover them throughout my case study.

In the case study, I will cover these 3 areas:

1. Why testers feel undervalued, including:

  • being paid less than developers
  • not being seen as a key contributor to a project
  • being an afterthought
  • not being used to their full potential

I won’t dwell on this section, as it’s going over old ground and I think it's more important to focus on how to fix it - but the purpose is to set the scene and help those not in a testing role understand their point of view.

2. Why testers are important - this will cover the value and skills testers add to the team that other members don’t, including:

  • looking at things from the user perspective (having a non-technical opinion means they look at the bigger picture and interpret requirements better)
  • influencing project direction by using their position to work alongside all members of the project team

I’ll use some examples in this section of when I’ve seen testers being instrumental in a project's success, and examples of when projects without a tester have failed.

3. How to help testers (and others) see why they are important - this will cover:

  • how to get buy-in for testing for project managers or product owners
  • how to convert that difficult developer who thinks their work doesn’t need manual testing to understanding the value of working alongside a tester

I’ll also talk about some coaching and mentoring techniques I’ve used to help testers take pride in their jobs and stand up to developers or others who don’t understand their value.

If any of the original points raised by the audience have not been covered in these 3 sections I will then aim to tackle them at the end, before taking any questions.

The aim is for people to walk out of my session with a better understanding of why some testers don’t feel valued and how to help all the team work better together.

About the Speaker

Liz started out as a QA engineer at Holiday Extras in 2010. After a couple of years learning her trade she began to have a bigger impact, first introducing the team to automated testing and then revamping the team to be software testers, pushing for quality to be considered at all stages of the development process.

She has 3+ years experience in management, focusing mostly on developing high performance and supporting the changing needs of a growing team. Oh, and she also dabbled at being a scrum master for around a year!

Even now that her role (leading a web team of 70+ people) is further away from day to day testing, she can't stop herself getting involved in the testing team and finding out about the latest trends and ideas.


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Session Types

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Case Study/Experience Report

A presentation and discussion of real-life (not theoretical) experiences of the application (or mis-application) of Agile and Lean practices. Case studies and experience reports include some discussion of lessons learned and an indication of how novel the work is.


Participants learn a new approach, tool or technology through using it to solve one or more practical exercises. Any software/hardware requirements are disclosed in the session description.


A session focused around some specific tool, technique or issue. Primarily led by the speaker, tutorials usually include some elements of interactivity or individual / group exercise.


An in-depth working session on a specific topic. May include paper presentations.