CAST 2016 has ended
Testing: Software Development Catalyst

Testing is not an isolated activity. It interacts with and influences other disciplines in software development such as design, coding, release management, and deployment. As testers, our skills and experiences add value far beyond the immediate context of verifying functionality. Threats to value other than software errors exist.

Yet our discussions are often constrained to the testing space, omitting the connections to, and dependencies on, other roles and activities. Testing is an integral discipline of software development, and often plays an active and important role in bridging gaps between technical and business-focused roles, between leaders and engineers, and between makers and users.

How does the testing piece fit into the software development puzzle? How does – and how should – testing interact with other disciplines in software development? How can we most effectively add value to the software development projects we participate in?

Please join us for our 11th annual conference at the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver, Canada, August 8-10 2016.


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Wednesday, August 10 • 14:30 - 15:30
Against a Harmful Divide: Testing as the Lifeblood of Development

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Testing is not optional in software development. Development without testing is impossible. While the existence of "QA" departments and the future of the role of the dedicated tester might be up for debate, the importance of careful model-building, empirical investigation, effective issue reporting and advocacy, and other skills endemic to skilled testers are not.

Every developer who says they "don't know how to test" nonetheless uses testing skills as a first recourse when something doesn't work. This being software development, "something doesn't work" _a lot,_ and so, developers test, _a lot._ This is true even in the absence of practices that formalize the role of testing in the act of programming, such as TDD and BDD.

So why do they think they can't test effectively? Why do _we_ think that? What can we do about it? What have we been doing to perpetuate a world where developers can shrug off the responsibility for being good at such an important part of their jobs?

This talk will cover the importance of testing skills and practices to our friends in Product, Design and Engineering roles, and contemplate how seeing testing as separate - be it as a separate org, a separate team, a separate role or even just a separate person, lengthens or even opens feedback loops, retards growth of testing skills, and invites problems into the development process. It will also discuss a growing awareness across these disciplines of the importance of traditionally testing-related skills and practices, and how testers can work to eliminate this divide, or make it less harmful.

If testing is a key catalyst of development, can anyone afford for it to belong to testers alone?

avatar for Jesse Alford

Jesse Alford

Exploratory Tester/Software Engineer, Pivotal Labs
I help people. I do this by learning things. This is an expansive mandate, and I love pursuing it.

Wednesday August 10, 2016 14:30 - 15:30 PDT
Fletcher Challenge Theatre (1900) Simon Fraser University Vancouver 515 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3