9-11 May 2018

thestudio, Manchester

Turning developers into testers

Session type:
Case Study

Session duration:
45 minutes

Presented by:

David Longman


About this Case Study

As the applications we deliver become more and more complex and the expectations of our users become more demanding, we need to be able to demonstrate that our code is working correctly with less manual intervention. Added to this is the ongoing drive within our industry for a more rapid release cadence, which leads us to much more automation than ever before. In this new world how do the roles of developers and testers within a team change?

For the past 5 years, I have been working with development and testing teams to reduce the need for testers. We have moved the responsibility and accountability of the application quality from the testing team to the development team, and increased the focus on automated testing. In these teams the role of a tester has become akin to an expert consultant working with developers to elucidate risks and agree what test scenarios are most important to ensure we have confidence that the applications are working correctly. While they still perform manual exploratory testing, most of their time is spent working with developers to define what tests we need rather than necessarily creating them.

We have found that the skills developers have put them at an advantage when building automated test pipelines for large or complex applications. Automated test packs are becoming large code bases in their own right and approaching the delivery of these with standard software engineering experience creates more maintainable and performant test packs. Aligned to this is the developers' unique understanding of how the application is constructed, which enables them to make more effective decisions about how a scenario is best implemented and allows us to shift more risk mitigation down to lower level unit or integration tests.

While this has been successful for the teams I have worked with so far, we still have a professional tester within all our teams. In fact, recently I have been working with an organisation that historically relied on end users for all testing and we introduced new testing roles within each of the teams. Is the future a world where delivery teams have no formal testing role - is it feasible for developers to become good software testers as well as good software developers?

About the Speaker

Dave Longman is a product owner and scrum master with 8 years' experience leading agile teams across the globe.

He led a successful agile transformation of more than 100 people, across multiple locations, while working at the data management software company IDBS in Surrey.

He currently leads the AXA division at Cornish outsourcing company, Headforwards, providing agile coaching and consultancy within both Headforwards and AXA-PPP.

Dave has a particular interest in building high-performing remote teams. Focusing on the basics - great communication and transparent reporting - he uses simple metrics to highlight where teams are performing well and where they may need assistance.

He is always looking for ways to improve how teams deliver software and is currently focused on moving testing away from testers and onto developers.


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