James Bach, Satisfice, Inc.
There are some pretty big arguments going on about whether “testing is dead” or whether testing should even be a role. My position is clear: if you want to be very good at something then you should name it and focus on it. Do you want someone who is really good at helping you when you are sick? Don’t go to a “life coach.” Go to a medical doctor. Are you having problems with your eyes, don’t go to just any medical doctor, go to an Ophthalmologist. Well, do you want your product scoured for problems? Don’t consult a “team member.” Consult a tester. The skills people develop ultimately reflect their identities and accountabilities. There’s so much to know about testing, but without focus ON testing, no one is going to learn all that, and then we are left with perpetual amateurs and a testing craft stuck in Neverland.
Yet having said that, everyone on a good project contributes usefully to the testing process. That means everyone is “sort of partly testers,” while some people are “especially mostly testers.” This creates a real difficulty for organizations in how they think about testing. I want to help you sort that out.