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Are testers still necessary?

Picture of Lisa Crispin
byLisa Crispin

Ever since there have been testing and QA professionals, there have been some people proclaiming that those specialists are no longer needed. We’ll be replaced by automation, eXtreme Programming (XP) and other forms of agile, artificial intelligence, machine learning… As more teams look to adopt DevOps culture and practices, a lot of testing and QA practitioners feel intimidated by another new set of terminology and tools to learn, and feel squeezed out by people who say “Our developers have automated all the tests and we’re running them in the pipeline, we don’t need any testers in DevOps!” 

Well, here’s the news. Automation, agile development (including XP), AI and ML have all proven more successful with testers involved. And we have science to prove they are a key ingredient in DevOps success. The book Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations, which sums up several years’ worth of the State of DevOps surveys. The authors - Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim -  conclude based on the data that test automation is a key part of continuous delivery, and that having reliable automated tests, primarily created and maintained by developers is a predictor of high IT performance. And:

None of this means that we should be getting rid of testers. Testers serve an essential role in the software delivery lifecycle, performing manual testing such as exploratory, usability, and acceptance testing, and helping to create and evolve suites of automated tests by working alongside developers. 

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If continuous everything and pipelines seem a bit intimidating, reading Parveen Khan’s story of her own journey, “A Tester’s Story: Adapting to the new world of pipelines” will give you courage. Theresa Neate explains why testers need to get involved providing input to both applications and infrastructure as code in her post, “The QA in the DevOps world”. And if you still don’t feel the call to action, Toyer Mamoojee will convince you in his post, “DevTestOps: It’s alive, but what can testers do to make it alive AND kicking into overdrive!” 

These are all guest testing blogs on the Testing in DevOps website, which I have the pleasure of curating. You can find many more superb posts there, as well as links to free courses, books, webinars, articles, podcasts and more resources to help you learn about a wide range of related topics. If you’re already on your DevTestOps journey, please consider sharing your experiences with a guest blog post. 

Go to TestingInDevOps.org

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