Ask any seasoned tester about the status of testing today and you’ll get plenty of opinions. This was certainly the case during my recent roundtable on the state of testing in 2021 with Jacques Bach and Michael bolton.

We discussed a wide range of issues affecting testing in 2021, from AI and other tools to the changing role of the tester. These important topics are a priority in the testing world today, and it was exciting to discuss these critical issues with two industry pioneers.

Yet, through all the arguments put forward and anecdotes shared, the discussion kept coming back to three main factors that really shape testing in 2021. Here are those three points and what they mean.

1. Technological advances vs privacy concerns

How it shapes modern testing

The first key element of testing in 2021 is the realization that testers are caught between two technological extremes.

Bach pointed out that, on the one hand, there is a lot of talk about AI in testing, automating robotic processes and other technologies that can play an extremely useful role in speeding up the automation process. On the flip side, he said, organizations have also started to focus more and more on security, data privacy and the protection of customers’ personal data.

There is a paradox that AI and data privacy are gaining in importance simultaneously. While testers are under pressure to turn their testing skills into algorithms, they also see these algorithms fail because they are not applied correctly.

Instead of working to meet quality criteria, testers are often forced to do whatever it takes to meet the next deadline in the sprint. Although deadlines are important, meeting them should not compromise the quality of the product.

What testers can do

To overcome this paradox, testers must be strategic and test responsibly. While testers can benefit greatly from AI and other automation technologies, they should not blindly rely on AI results.

Bolton noted that AI-based results analysis has other benefits than a bug-free sprint. Taking a close look at AI results instead of just depending on it gives testers the opportunity to learn more about themselves and the products they’ve created. This will help them think more critically about the tests they are running and whether they actually meet the quality criteria.

2. Testers must be vocal advocates and critics

How it shapes modern testing

Another key element of modern testing is that testers should be a strong advocate for testing in their organizations. This is a major change in the role of a tester from previous years, but it is also a required part of sufficient application testing in organizations that are always looking to meet the next one. deadline.

Many testers are often tasked with turning their work into algorithms that show their product works. But we argued in the panel that testers in 2021 need to do the exact opposite – they need to critically examine their product by understanding how a user interacts with the app to focus on possible issues. Only then can testers perform strategic testing by mapping the product and its relationship to quality criteria.

In fact, Bolton claimed that testers should move away from the developer mindset as much as possible to better analyze the product. By getting rid of the assumptions associated with the development team’s goals, testers can then create a solid testing strategy.

What testers can do

Bolton and Bach both stressed the need to advocate for testing. In fact, Bolton likened a development team without testers to journals without editors (among other metaphors).

To be a better advocate for testing in 2021, Bach recommended that testers tell stories to champion their cause. They must carefully monitor what is happening with the product in the field and ensure that management is fully aware of the various aches and pains that their customers are experiencing.

There are many ways to make these advocacy stories more compelling, from in-product risk analysis reports to maps and other visual aids. If you can find users on social media who are complaining about your product, that should also be shown to management in your case.

3. Test the tools as a support and not as a substitute

How it shapes modern testing

The final key element of testing in 2021 is approaching your tooling with the right mindset. Tools should meet testers’ goals, not the other way around. Automated testing tools are great for helping testers be more productive. Tools can help testers complete their tasks faster and give them more agility. Testing platforms can also help provide testers with everything they need in one place, from device integrations to comprehensive reporting.

Yet the tools should not be seen as a substitute for testers. On the contrary, the tools are a great resource to support various test goals.

What testers can do

To make better use of the tools, testers need to think about how their technology stack helps them tell the testing story. As Bach so aptly put it, testers shouldn’t try to make testing easy; they should make the tests powerful.

Teams need to understand exactly how a testing tool helps them and factor that into their overall testing strategy. They should also realize the limitations of each tool they use. Using tools distorts a tester’s experience of a product, so recognizing the limitations will keep the tester as objective as possible. Plus, it’ll help testers avoid using their tools to test things that the platforms don’t actually support.

Ninjas needed

There is a lot of work to do to get testing done in 2021. As a tester, you need to continue to focus on your own goals while being drawn in multiple directions that threaten to take you off course.

To overcome these obstacles, continue to think critically, defend hard, analyze your products from an end-user perspective, and choose the right tools that help them achieve their goals. You need to hone these skills not only to improve yourself as a tester, but also to get better tests for the rest of the year and beyond.

To learn more about Michael Bolton and James Bach, listen to the panel discussion.

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