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Waterfall may not be dead, but it’s certainly drowning

The Agile revolution has dominated the software development industry in the last few years. While many companies are still struggling with the transition, and effectively using a blend of methodologies, few are arguing against Agile. Its momentum is unstoppable, and it goes hand in hand with the adoption of cloud computing and the meteoric rise of mobile devices. The way software is developed and distributed has completely changed, and so have the devices it is being written for.

Testing has been thrown into disarray by this shift in how software development is handled. The focus on cutting down the time between idea and release, coupled with the change from releases and patches, to almost continuous roll-outs into live software, has left many QA departments floundering. Reliance on out of date tools and practices that were designed with the older methodologies in mind is a recipe for disaster.

Sometimes QA can feel like the red-headed stepchild, because the drive for new techniques and technology is focused on developers. Budgets are lavished elsewhere as an active developer community generates a lot of buzz and promises the business better results. As a consequence, testers are being asked to do more with less. Any attempt to meet the modern demands of software development, based on Agile or a shift towards DevOps, is doomed to certain failure unless the testing industry can re-invent itself and make positive changes.

It’s time to stop and take stock. If you’re a tester and you’re struggling to deliver, then ask yourself why. Is there a compelling reason to continue to do things the way you have been doing them?

The testing community needs to come together and analyze the new challenges in order to identify the best practices and the right technology to drive things forward.

The particular skill set that experienced testers bring to the table has never been in more demand. The high-paced nature of user feedback informing speedy changes, and a greatly compressed release cycle, presents all new challenges for testing teams. It also introduces greater excitement and a real opportunity for testers to excel and deliver measurable results that improve customer satisfaction. Management will see the value.

Instead of seeing this change as a tidal wave ready to sweep you away, grab a surfboard and get ready to catch it. It’s time to start paddling in the same direction as everyone else. If there’s a lack of discussion on new testing techniques then let’s start it. There are many seasoned testing professionals out there with the right ideas about how to modernize the industry. If the right tools for the job don’t exist, then let’s create them.

We value your input about how we can meet the demands of modern testers. We plan to delve into these issues further when we publish our first eBook, which focuses on being ready for this new era of Agile. So stay tuned!

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