I am currently at the QAI Quest Conference.  The conference has a heavy quality and testing focus (I am teaching a tutorial, participating as a subject matter expert and giving a talk on agile) – I am enjoying this conference. A session I participated in early this week developed a list of problems leaders were having with leveraging agile. I will mine the list next week. However, for now, I want to consider one issue that I heard several times.  The “silo’ization” of coders and testers.

The idea of creating a hard boundary between coders and testers is almost always a bad idea.  Even before the idea of cross-functional teams became mainstream, the idea of “shifting left” was a common rallying cry in testing and methods circles. Shifting testing “left” created an environment in which testers and coders would interact and reduce the distinction between the two roles.  In agile, siloing the two roles leads to coders working in one sprint and testers in the next, each having their own tasks masquerading as user stories. This is waterfall software development — no matter if the coders and testers are using Scrum for their individual work.

Arguably there might be some very explicit contractual or legal reasons for separating testers and coders. But don’t fool yourself into a falsely believing that this is an efficient approach to software development or that when the coders are done, value is delivered.  If work can’t be implemented into production and function with the appropriate level of quality, no value has been delivered.

We will do a deep dive into the self-reported issues of quality, testing, and development leaders next week.  In the interim, I will supply short observations for the QAI Quest Conference (and I will hope to see there next year).