The Evolving Role of Software Testing: Q&A with Michael Cooper

I recently got to do a video interview consultant and thought leader Mike Cooper to talk about all things agile and testing. Mike has deep experience working in software development and QA for companies like Equifax,T-Mobile and FICO. He was also a “QA and Testing Evangelist” at HP so he has a great perspective on the current state of testing and where the industry is going. Check out the full video interview below.

Here are 5 takeaways from the interview:

1) Testing is getting more specialized.

Companies are moving away from the “generalist tester”. They want more specialization. They’re looking for testing expertise on specific platforms (ie mobile), in industries or in methodologies . This creates great opportunity for testers with specialized skills.

2) Agile is improving team collaboration

The move to agile has really improved the way teams collaborate and communicate. The old silos between development, testing and project management have been broken down. You really can’t be successful moving at an agile pace without that collaboration. The best agile organizations have testers embedded in the team, attending daily scrum meetings.

3) There’s always a place for exploratory testing.

Automation is important for creating efficiency. But, there’s still an important place for exploratory testing in agile teams. Exploratory testing lets you test aspects of usability that can’t necessarily be tested with automation alone. It allows skilled testers to learn the application and explore it from a user perspective. It also gives your testers a chance to think outside the box and make important discoveries about the quality of the application.

4) Testing thought leaders to follow:

5) Testing leaders have to get along with people

As a QA professional, we have to frequently be the bearer of bad news. But whoever you’re communicating with, you have to listen first, put yourself in their shoes, and treat those people the way you want to be treated. To be effective as a QA manager/leader, you really have to get along with people.

You can learn more about Michael, Chief Quality Officer, W3 LLC Companies, on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter at @QACooper.

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