If you ask any seasoned tester about the condition of testing today, you’ll receive a lot of different answers. That was certainly the case during my recent panel discussion with James Bach and Michael Bolton on the condition of testing in 2021.

From AI and other technologies to the altering role of the tester, we explored a wide range of challenges that will affect testing in 2021. These vital concerns are currently top of mind in the field of testing, and it was thrilling to chat with two industry pioneers about them.

Despite all of the debates and examples, the conversation kept returning to three fundamental issues that would influence testing in 2021. Here are the three points and their implications.

1. Technological advances vs. privacy concerns

How it shapes modern testing

The idea that testers are caught between two technology extremes is the first crucial feature of testing in 2021.

On the one hand, there is a lot of talk about AI in testing, robotic process automation, and other technologies that can assist speed up the testing process, as Bach pointed out. Organizations, on the other hand, have begun to focus more on security, data privacy, and preserving personal consumer data, he said.

The fact that both AI and data privacy are becoming more important at the same time creates a dilemma. While testers are under pressure to turn their testing talents into algorithms, they are also witnessing these algorithms fail due to improper application.

Instead, then focusing on meeting quality standards, testers are frequently pressured to fulfil the next sprint target. While achieving deadlines is crucial, it should not come at the expense of product quality.

What testers can do

Testers must be strategic and test responsibly in order to negotiate this dilemma. While AI and other automation technology can tremendously aid testers, they should not rely solely on AI’s output.

Apart from a bug-free sprint, Bolton pointed out that studying AI-based outcomes offers other advantages. Instead of relying on AI’s output, testers might learn more about themselves and the things they made by examining it thoroughly. This will enable them to think more critically about the tests they’re performing and whether they’re meeting quality standards.

2. Testers must be vocal advocates and critics

How it shapes modern testing

Another important aspect of modern testing is that testers must zealously promote testing throughout their businesses. This is a significant change in the position of the tester compared to prior years, but it is also a necessary aspect of adequate application testing inside firms that are continuously seeking to achieve the next deadline.

Many testers are told to transform their work into algorithms that demonstrate the product’s functionality. However, we emphasized in the panel that testers in 2021 must do the exact opposite: they must critically examine their product by knowing how a user interacts with it in order to focus on potential faults. Only by mapping the product and its relationship to quality requirements can testers test strategically.

In fact, according to Bolton, testers must separate themselves as far as possible from the developer mindset in order to effectively examine the product. Testers can establish a strong testing strategy by eliminating assumptions connected with the dev team’s aims.

What testers can do

Both Bolton and Bach emphasized the need of testing advocacy. Bolton likened a development team without testers to a newspaper without editors (among other metaphors).

In order to be a stronger advocate for testing in 2021, Bach suggested that testers tell tales to support their case. They must keep a close eye on what is going on with the product in the field and ensure that management is aware of the numerous problems that their clients are experiencing.

From risk analysis studies to maps and other visual aids, there are many ways to make these advocacy stories more engaging. If you can locate users complaining about your product on social media, you should show that to management as well.

3. Testing tools as a means of support, not a substitute

How it shapes modern testing

In 2021, the final important aspect of testing is to approach your tooling with the appropriate mindset. Testers’ goals should be met by tools, not the other way around. Automated testing technologies can help testers work more efficiently. Tools can assist testers in completing tasks more quickly and with more agility. Testing platforms can also make it easier for testers to get everything they need in one location, including integrations, devices, and detailed reporting.

However, tools should not be used in place of testers. Rather, tools are an excellent resource for achieving diverse testing objectives.

What testers can do

To get the most out of their tools, testers should think about how their tech stack might help them convey the testing story. As Bach so well stated, testers should not strive to make testing simple; rather, they should strive to make testing powerful.

Teams must comprehend how a testing tool aids them and use this information into their whole testing plan. They must also be aware of the limitations of any tool they employ. Because using tools alters a tester’s experience with a product, understanding the restrictions will help the tester remain objective. Additionally, testers will be able to avoid utilizing their tools to test features that the platforms do not allow.

Ninjas needed

Testing in 2021 will need a significant amount of effort. As a tester, you must maintain your concentration on your own objectives while being pushed in a variety of ways that threaten to derail you.

Continue to think critically, advocate vehemently, assess your products from the end user’s perspective, and choose the correct tools to help them reach their goals to overcome these challenges. To not just develop as a tester, but also to achieve better testing for the rest of the year and beyond, you must hone these talents.

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