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What Can Software Testing Tea Leaves Tell Us?

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What Can Software Testing Tea Leaves Tell Us?

A look at the STARWEST conference, and why we should be glad to see more sessions about advanced Agile or DevOps methodologies.

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Closely analyzing the evolution of software conference program schedules can often paint a pretty accurate picture of the current state of our industry. Sometimes that picture is rosy, and gives you confidence that we’re headed in the right direction—and sometimes it can cause downright fear.

After pouring over this year’s STARWEST program, it’s clear that there’s a lot for testers to be excited about regarding where their their role in software delivery is headed.

The STAR conferences are some of my favorites each year because they offer a diverse lineup of speakers from around the globe speaking about an even more diverse array of topics. In the past, many of these speakers have called out the misconceptions of QA’s role, and the time and/or requirements to truly be able to assure software quality.

But in just looking at the titles and abstracts of this year’s sessions, I don’t see the rabble-rousing, the attempts at defining “agile” or “DevOps” or explaining the difference between manual and automated software testing. It almost appears…that we’re past all that. How awesome would that be?

This year, I see wonderful looking sessions on “agile testing maturity”, “end-to-end testing”, “better test automation”, “rapid software testing”, “continuous testing”, etc. These sessions and many others aren’t only focused on improving your own skills, but also those of the development, IT, and security teams around you.

One session in particular that I’m really looking forward to attending is IBM technical evangelist Allan Wagner’s “Testing Applications—For the Cloud and in the Cloud.” Because with all of the opportunities that DevOps and continuous testing creates for testers to increase their role and value, as Allan says, “one challenge still remains―the unavailability of complete and realistic production-like test environments.”

You and your team can want to continuously test and deliver the highest quality, defect free software all day long, but do you have access, on-demand access, to the environments you need to accomplish that?

I reached out to Allan last week to learn more about what he meant by “for the cloud and in the cloud” and even though we spoke at length, I love that he pretty much summed it up with, “use what you have, and virtualize what you don’t.”

Allan will be diving deeper into releasing backlog constraints, deploying to the cloud, and maintaining high reliability and security, but I love that something as simple as “virtualize what you don’t have” doesn’t just give testers more time to test now that they’re not waiting around on IT to provision what they need. These virtualized environments allow for better quality testing, improved testing efforts, smarter testing, and continuous testing throughout the SDLC.

Looks like a number of other speakers are recommending testers do the same thing. I can’t wait.

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