Do you have the perfect testing mindset for an agile project environment? 

I’ve been interviewing lots of testers recently for the role of test engineer in an agile project environment with a strong emphasis on test automation. With that in mind you may think the obvious interview questions I should be asking are:

What automation tools / frameworks / languages are you using?

What agile test processes are you following?

Whilst the answers to these questions are important, they are supplementary to the only two questions that really matter to me, which are:

Do they have a testing mindset?

Do they have the personality to apply that mindset collaboratively and supportively in an agile team environment?

SDETs (Software Developer Engineer in Test)

Lots of companies now have SDETs (‘Software Developer Engineer in Test’) or ‘Technical Automation’ testers and recently I have seen recruiters looking for 'developers with an interest in test'. For me this is diluting the role of the tester.

Developers are really good at building application features usually following a happy path approach and testers are really good at testing (breaking) these features through alternate path testing. Why would you try and merge the two into one role, losing developer / tester collaboration and in turn reducing its effectiveness? Why not encourage both roles to collaborate and work closely together to build quality software that utilises the strengths of both?

Are they applying for the wrong job?

During the interview process I frequently get to the point where the candidate will let slip that they find testing boring and automation is the area they need to get into for their career development, but if they want to get into testing because of an interest in development, they are applying for the wrong job. If, however they are passionate about testing and see automation as one of many tools at their disposal I’m interested.

So why is a passionate, testing mindset important to us here at Answer Digital ? Answer Digital Testers teach the team the value of testing through:

  • Being proactive and asking the right questions to define a set of tests that will help create a shared understanding of what is being built
  • Being curious, collaborative, challenging and diplomatic by providing quick feedback, positive and negative, on what the team are building 
  • Being creative in the testing methods they employ focusing on high impact areas
  • Learning and knowledge transfer (‘Nurturation’) through the Answer Digital Test Academy which ensures as a QA team we are continually progressing and improving
  • And yes, through knowing the value of test automation our testers ensure that our customers are agile and adaptable with short release cycles

Developers are really good at building application features usually following a happy path approach and testers are really good at testing (breaking) these features through alternate path testing. Why would you try and merge the two into one role, losing developer / tester collaboration and in turn reducing its effectiveness? Why not encourage both roles to collaborate and work closely together to build quality software that utilises the strengths of both?


About the Author...

Richard is an Agile Practitioner with over 25 years of leading and delivering systems in a variety of sectors. Passionate about testing, Richard leads 'Answer Digital Test', a rapidly expanding group of Test Engineers who ensure that agile testing processes are driving, defining and ensuring quality across all our projects.