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 • 13:15 - 14:15
Why Companies Without Testers are the Best Place to Be One

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Many software development companies claim they don’t have testers. They claim that practices like TDD, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and production monitoring eliminate the need for separate testing groups and phases. While this attitude is concentrated in startups and Silicon Valley companies, knowledge of these techniques is spreading, and “platform as a service” technologies, containerization, and increasingly mature CI frameworks are making it easier for enterprises to bring these practices to their internal software development projects.

This might sound like a threat to the livelihood of skilled testers. Some of the appeal of these practices to large enterprises is definitely in the opportunity to get rid of low-value “quality assurance” departments.

However, these are often exactly the places where skilled explorers should want to work. When you solve the boring, tedious problems that take up much of many testers’ time, “exploration” becomes a high status skillset with applications across the software development process.

I’ll share how the tools and practices that Pivotal uses (without a formal test phase) work, and how they make it and companies like it a great place to be an explorer. I’ll describe how the role of “engineer with a subspecialty in exploration” has evolved as we’ve learned more about the weaknesses of our existing feedback systems, and how a more formal approach to exploration fits into our practices. I’ll also talk about how to use testing skills to get a job at a company that “doesn’t have testers,” and about how to implement these practices at your own company, while highlighting some common pitfalls.

avatar for Natalie Bennett

Natalie Bennett

Pivotal Labs
Natalie J. Bennett is a software engineer with a specialty in exploration Pivotal, working on the open source cloud platform Cloud Foundry. She got into software testing by accident, and spent several years as a tester at different companies while she learned to explore and build... Read More →

Wednesday August 10, 2016 13:15 - 14:15 PDT
Fletcher Challenge Theatre (1900) Simon Fraser University Vancouver 515 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3