Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory’s seminal book, Agile Testing, refers to fellow agile author and coach Jonathan Rasmussen as a Test Infected Developer.
The story as presented in the book describes the first encounter between Jonathan Rasmusson and Janet Gregory. Jonathan’s first reaction was to think there was no role for a tester in an XP (extreme programming) team. Janet’s inital response is long forgotten, however the value she introduced was displayed in the next six months. Automation of the low level test cases allowed her to focus on more value add areas like Exploratory Testing. Jonathan was thus converted and saw the valuable role of a tester on a team.
They also go on to say a happy result of Agile Development is that many programmers are ‘test infected’. An agile team is happily test infected.
This essentially means that everyone is pulling for the team. Testing becomes a task rather than a role. What’s good for goose is good for the gander.
The aim is to deliver more value for the customers. Testing and the Testers mindset from the beginning of the project is an important part of the process as it can effect everything from requirements gathering through to installation and all points in between. In requirements gathering we are questioning to ensure we build the right thing and during the build we are building it right!
If you are a developer who unfortunately does not have access to a (agile) tester you will need to take these skills on if your haven’t already. I’ve personally been in the place a few times in the past and adopting the testers mindset and directing yourself to the most value adding tests results in a much better result. This is not necessarily to be confused with the very specific role of Software Developer In Test which some teams employ – although the swarming, t-shaped skills mindset still kicks in to ensure the value (value trumps output) is delivered for the customer.
We can all learn from each other and develop those T-Shaped skills that help deliver solutions faster. When we have testers available we can accelerate even more, when we don’t we need to fill the role ourselves. Either way we should and need to be Test Infected.
With this important part of our toolkit, we can delight our customers and get onto the next great thing. A win-win.