Back in 2001 or so, there were some within the nascent Agile community who believed that direct collaboration between programmers and customers (or their proxies) would eventually obviate the need for professional testers. The context-driven testing community knew how unlikely that was. We are, after all, a community of critical thinkers.
The argument that testers could be eliminated if programmers and stakeholder learned how to communicate directly just didn’t hold water. Many of us proceeded to demonstrate the value testers bring to the table by joining test-infected Agile teams. And yet in 2011, we saw some people declare that testing is, in fact, dead. I’m happy to report that once again the reports of testing’s demise seem to be greatly exaggerated. However, the role of testers, even thinking testers, has most definitely changed. Some of that change is coming from within our community. Other changes are driven by shifts in software development practices and improvements in tools. Organizations adopting Agile integrate testing throughout the lifecycle and often integrate testers into cross functional delivery teams. As a result, lines are blurring: the role of a tester is not as clear cut today as it was a decade ago when I was managing testing teams. In this talk, I examine the shifting role of testing and testers in software development organizations, and explore what it takes to succeed as a professional tester in today’s climate.