Teatimewithtesters.com August 2013|Let’s Talk (Common Sense) ]

Ultimately, testers will fail when they are measured against unrealistic expectations, and testing will fail when it is bent to fit a mold more appropriate to manufacture than to research. We’re worried about where this is heading, about a possible future where testers have driven themselves into irrelevance due to an insistence on cookie-cutter practices that add little and cost a great deal. We’re worried, in a world increasing dependent on software, about what this means for software quality. As the stakes of software failure increase, it seems to us that testing practice is lagging behind.

The ISST sees the development and growth of a global community of testers as the primary means of developing such a supply. A vibrant community will capture the interest and attention of testers who have a desire to learn, whilst events such as conferences, training, webinars etc. provide a means for testers to share information and ideas. We will encourage and support such activities.

Of course, a supply of skilled testers guarantees nothing: other than self gratification, there is little point in having a skill if no one will hire you to use it. But imagine how different the industry would look if even a handful of large enterprises were to say to their vendors: “Sure, cost is important, but we don’t want to spend money on stuff that doesn’t add value. Give us testers who are skilled, who can speak our language and who will work with us to figure out what’s important”. Imagine how it would feel if a large commodity testing vendor were to declare, “OK, this doesn’t really work, we’re going to do something different”. Imagine if a significant number of hiring managers were to consider the ability of prospective testers to think and communicate, rather than their ability to repeat methodological buzzwords. Such a change cannot take place solely within the confines of the testing community. Such a change must take place in the minds of those who make decisions: about how to source testing, about who to hire, about how testing is viewed on a given project. Therefore, the ISST will pursue an advocacy agenda and seek to engage with executives, project managers and developers in order to raise awareness of the issues of skill and value, and to encourage a change in mindset.

Disclaimer: I am a member of ISST and an advocate of context-driven testing.