The last year I’ve been around at various seminars and conferences speaking on “Agile testing” and “The new role of the agile tester”.
One of the main messages I’ve been preaching is that I expect testers to step up.
If you want to fit in on an agile team and earn the respect of your developer colleagues, then yes, that means that you need to be serious about your trade.
And yes that will mean that you will have to have an interest in your profession, and you will have to do something about it, probably in your own time.
Now I don’t mean you have to give up your social life all together, but at least put in an hour or so every week by doing something.
Read blogs, discuss on twitter, learn something new on testing, or even read a book on testing.
Sign up for free digital subscriptions for some of the testing magazines out there and get great stuff in your inbox regularly that will be just waiting for you to read.
For example: Better Software Magazine or Tea Time with Testers
Normally when I present this to a group of testers I get two reactions. A lot of people nod in agreement, but also an alarmingly large number of testers look at me with either utter confusion: Is this guy for real???, or even look at me with a smirk on their face that says: No way am I going to do this stuff in my free time.
Last year I read “Uncle Bob:s” new book “The clean coder”, a book which describes a code of conduct for a developer who wants to call herself a professional.
One of the things that he mentions is that it really is up to you take charge of your own career and profession, a lot of what he describes for developer apply to testers who want to call themselves professionals.
And really, it’s no less than what we expect from a developer. It’s not okay for a developer to say that the last language he/she learned was COBOL or Fortran.
So then when I stumbled upon this finnish tester Jari Laakso:s (@JariLaakso) blog the other week and a post that he’d written “(Dark) Secret of a Great Tester” I was very glad to find someone else preaching the same message as me (the hallmark of a great mind obviously ;-) ).
But if you are reading this, then odds are that you are already “stepping up”, you are already reading blog posts in your spare time or experimenting with new test tools.
So even though I wrote that I expect “you” to step up, what I probably meant was:
“Yes I do expect your tester colleagues to step up!”
In my interview on “Agile testing” with Lisa Crispin last year she says that the most important thing in being an agile tester is the “right attitude” and “the willingness to jump up and do whatever needs to be done to help the team move forward”.
So lets do everyone a favour and start spamming and inspiringing our tester colleagues with interesting blog links, nice to follow twitter id:s, online video lectures.
But above all, don't be afraid to start some new initiative at work.
Try starting a testing book club, introduce weekend/weeknight testers, have test discussions, book a conference room in the company and invite people to watch an online webinar or even attend an online conference.
All these things above are practically free for your employer as it will only cost an hour or so for the people attending and filling up a conference room.
If your unlucky to have an employer that don’t want to do even this, then do it over lunch together.
On the other hand you might be lucky enough to work for an employer who wants to pay for the lunch for anyone attending.
So lets start not only taking responsibility for our own careers, but also to start inspiring our test colleagues to learn more.