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Testing is in our blood

  • 15/10/2010
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

On agile teams, testing is more of a role, than a job description. Testers, programmers and designers know some aspects of each other’s work, and can occasionally fulfil tasks outside their own specialty field. They are not fully interchangeable; in Scrum terms, they are generalizing specialists.

As a sideline in my presentation last week in Berlin, I showed the following picture of two people pair-programming.


Looking at the picture, who do you think is more of a tester?

The vast majority of the people that I ask this, answers that the bald guy is most likely to be the tester.

Why? Does the job appeal primarily to bald guys? Does the work cause us testers to shed our hair? Or is it in our blood?

If part of our natural aptitude / inclination is in our blood, then testers and programmers will never be fully interchangeable. Nor do they need to be, if everyone is willing to learn from each other.

Family tradition

I hail from a line of testers, engineers, and leaders by example.

My grandfather was a tester, and an electrical engineer. He ran the Dutch navy shipyard; not a single vessel left before his teams had checked the engines.

My father was a tester, and a process engineer. He was a great speaker. He too ended up leading a firm, having earned their respect on the work floor.

I am a tester, and a software engineer. So far, the largest project team I led numbered only 14. I’ve co-authored a book, and I share my views at conferences. In my current position, I try to build bridges between various parties, and help them build better software. I will lead my teams to greatness, or maybe I will start my own company. Given time, I will get there. I am a tester, and I am proud of it. It is in my blood.

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