Letter from the Editor – December 2018

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 500 BCE) is credited with saying, “The only constant is change.”

 

This is a statement that, more than 2,000 years later, still holds true. Today, we are in a time of great change.

Everything is in flux. The fact is, we are always in a state of change even if we are not fully aware of it. This is especially true in product development as this is multi-faceted. Product development is frequently experimenting with drastic innovation or process transformations involving better leveraging of tools, task automation, and AI. This shift has teams moving faster and delivering products at a sometimes dizzying speed. This is a future we must anticipate and embrace.

In a few years, when we look back on this era of software development, we will say this is when everything changed. We may not realize it today, but the leaps and bounds away from traditional slower development and delivery to rapid development and deployment are staggering. The eras with few to no easy and useful tools are gone. Tools are now simpler to use, available on more platforms, and are much more capable of executing complex tasks in new areas. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift.

A facet of this dynamism is that this rapid transformation is global. Around the world, organizations are busting out of old work paradigms. For the first time in my experience, these changes are universally impacting everyone at the same time. This is not a Silicon Valley or IT Tech Center phenomenon as has been the case in the past. Drastic modulation would be initially focused in tech hubs and would very slowly disseminate out. Even the oldest, most conservative companies, like financial service companies, who have a reputation for slow, super-cautious change, and being stuck in the past, are unexpectedly leading the charge toward blockchain.

We have been aware of the rapid state of development being commonplace for a long time. We have essentially learned it to be a constant. This rapid and exponential change is our steady state. This is what is gradually being accepted in software development. The old phrase, “That’s the way we have always done it here”, is now more likely to be followed by “and that needs to change” than “it’s the best way”.

Steve Jobs was quoted for saying, “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.” It hearkens to the idea that you should not rest on your laurels, or stop trying to innovate. As the iPhone grew in popularity, it slowly replaced the need for the previously super successful iPod.

While it’s important to make sure that you are staying up to date with your practices, it doesn’t mean that your company should throw out successful products just for the sake of change. It instead means that you should reexamine how you make your product from a modern perspective. Look at modern tools, modern development infrastructure such as cloud or Infrastructure as Code (IaC), new staffing models, and new practices. Make sure your customers are getting value from every release, getting it fast, and that you are receiving and using immediate feedback from them. Perhaps more dynamic competitors are doing these things already. Every product has newer, faster, and cheaper competitors. The world has changed.Of all the companies I go to each year, I do not know a single development team today that is not already experimenting with serious changes to their development processes and trying new tools. Whether it is an AI tool or simply more sophisticated tools that are changing how they build and deliver products, I notice the same theme all across the board and it goes by many names: IT modernization, digital transformation, disruption, or simply progress! Many software and hardware product companies do not use the phrase “digital transformation”, they have been leading it. Regardless of what stage your company is in, make sure you are always progressing forward. If you are “coasting”, remember, you can only coast downhill.

From the not-too-recent past of “process documents”, “standard practices” or “best practices”, every organization is now continuously looking to get rid of outdated methods and experiment with lean practices of empowering the team to make local but not global process changes. Even though some of these radical ideas have been around for a while, in just a dozen years Agile, Scrum, XP Lean, and now CI/CD, and Continuous Deployment, have changed product development forever. Considering how few large turning points there were in the decades previous, this era has been overwhelming.

All this is boosted by modern tool development from CruiseControl in 2001, to Jenkins, and beyond. Pipeline Automation is revolutionizing all companies. You are either on the way to it or you will be left behind, what step you chose to follow next will have an impact.

Particular to our business, the biggest set of change has been in tool use.

Test Automation tools that range from clunky and difficult using proprietary languages with miserable test maintenance, have been replaced by astoundingly better Automation tools that easily fit into the organization’s tool chain and better Automation methods. Soon the Automation of tests may be automatic—we are progressing toward this at lightning speed. We, test engineers, are aiding in this rapid change. More and smarter Test Automation is powering many organizations to make the transition away from only manual, to more modern product development methods. Optimizing and re-running Test Automation is the first place AI is making serious inroads for development teams.

As the year comes to a close, we take this issue to look in-depth at trends and the future of software testing. It is important to take note that this is a special era. Whether it is new product development paradigms like blockchain, new thinking around tools using Artificial Intelligence, or to process changes, one thing is for sure, change is the only constant.

Michael Hackett
Michael is a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics. Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), and Global Software Test Automation (Happy About Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

The Related Post

There is a growing software development dynamic of teams without Testers. When I first went into Software Quality, I learned one thing right away: My role was user advocate. My main job was to find bugs. This is the Lean principle called Amplified Learning. We learn about behavior by testing. Even then, validation was not ...
I have been excited about this issue since I included it in the 2011 editorial calendar. This issue of LogiGear Magazine dives into an exploration of agile automation—from the most efficient methods for test automation, to skill sets and better preparation for test teams, and even to understanding the variety of tools in question. We ...
In the November 2011 issue: Mobile Application Testing, I began my column with the statement, “Everything is mobile.” One year later the statement is even more true. More devices, more platforms, more diversity, more apps. It boggles the mind how fast the landscape changes. Blackberry has been kicked to the curb by cooler and slicker ...
As part of my work, I spend a lot of time at client’s sites and talk to various software development organizations. I am beginning to see a problem arise regarding Test Automation. There is too much automation! Surprised? While there are still many teams struggling to make progress with Test Automation, many teams have been doing ...
I remember the times when test teams sat in their own area and we were not allowed to “bother” developers.
Our plan for the December LogiGear Magazine was to have a forward-looking Trends and Challenges issue. However, whilst assembling our September issue on SMAC, we realized the momentum SMAC was gaining in the industry. We had a large amount of content on our hands from a range of excellent contributors. Thus, we decided to split ...
In every year since 2011, we have devoted one edition of our magazine to the topic of mobile testing. In this year’s issue on mobile, we focus on testing from the point of view of the user experience. Most teams start with UI testing, and it may seem basic — until you look at the ...
As we settle into autumn, we’re taking the time to start some new traditions. This is LogiGear magazine’s first issue on SMAC. SMAC—social, mobile, analytics and cloud. We will be doing more issues in the next few years on these topics since so much of the product world is moving to this development stack.
Methods and strategy have been my favorite topics since I started working in testing. It’s essentially engineering problem-solving. It’s both looking for efficiency and attempting to measure effectiveness. So, how do we develop a set of practices to solve our Software Testing engineering problems?
A while ago, I helped start a Software Quality Certificate Program as a part of the Software Engineering Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension in Silicon Valley. I was on the Board of Advisors. While putting the curriculum together, a few people suggested a Measurement and Metrics course. Since I was teaching ...
This is our third issue concerning topics of Continuous Delivery (CD) and DevOps with the inclusion of Continuous Testing. DevOps has been around for a while and I hope the period of buzz is over and companies moving towards building a development pipeline have begun their process, including changing their test strategies.
This is our first Trends issue in our 10- year history. Trends are important to help foresee what is on the horizon and coming next.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the loop with the lastest
software testing news

Subscribe