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Quality, Agility and DevOps – Quo Vadis QA?

It is clear to anyone that traditional QA needs to change to adapt to agile and devops. That is why the Techwell 2015–2016 State of the Software Testing Profession is so interesting (sorry you’ll need to register to get a copy).

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If you read between the lines in the report, there is a very strong message on how QA is changing – the graphs in the report show that QA is bifurcating into two separate roles – a test automation role and business testing role. The first focuses on technical and coding skills, while the second requires a deep understanding of the business and how business users will be using the system under test.

Another way to look at this is that split between testing for verification vs. testing for validation is becoming clearer and more distinct – especially for business applications. Verification is the process of checking that a software system meets specifications, while validation is the process of checking that it fulfills its intended business purpose.

Verification can (and should) be done through automation, but validation requires users (or skilled user proxies) in order to ensure that the system under test is accepted by users and the business.

It is interesting that the report ignores UX (user experience) testing which is different than verification or validation – but can have a large impact on acceptance. I have seen some examples where forward looking companies are starting to look at UA (user acceptance) and UX (user experience) together from a testing perspective.

This trend is related to what we wrote in our previous post: Requirements should be translated into user and business acceptance tests, first as manual scripts, which over time evolve into automated scripts.