Florian Fieber is the founder and managing director of QualityDojo IT-Consulting GmbH in Berlin and has been working as a consultant and trainer in the field of quality assurance of software systems for almost 20 years. His focus is on test management, the improvement of test processes and the business analysis of enterprise applications. In accordance with the company's vision "Satisfied users through better software", he supports his customers through strategic consulting and operational project support as well as in the qualification of employees and teams. he is also voluntarily involved in the German Testing Board e.V. for the further development of the "ISTQB Certified Tester" scheme and is currently chairman of the GTB.
What challenges will software testing have to face in the future?
If I am to look into the future of our profession, I first look back at our past and my personal experiences and try to make deductions for the future from them. I therefore assume that our (technological) world will change ever more rapidly and disruptively, and that we will be confronted with significant new challenges in ever shorter periods of time.
I don't know what will come in concrete terms. But I do know that things will evolve and change. For example, today we have a certain "common sense" about how to organize projects in a meaningful way. That looked quite different twenty years ago and will probably be just as different twenty years from now. The same goes for the buzzwords you mentioned like AI, AR, or blockchain. For us as software testers, these are all boundary conditions that we cannot directly influence, but with which we must be able to deal. However, we can influence the way we work as software testers ourselves.
What ideas or solutions could address these challenges?
I thus see two major challenges that we as software testers have to face: First, I have to keep up with the technological changes I just described. I have to continuously expand my theoretical and practical knowledge and seriously engage with the topics that are on the horizon at an early stage. This is the part that we typically chalk up to "lifelong learning," and it's not really that specific to software testing to begin with.
Secondly - and I feel this is the more important aspect from a software tester's point of view - I should especially master my craft in such a way that it is robust for the future, that it not only works today but will probably work in the future. The fundamental principles, methods and mindsets of a software tester are ideally independent of specific domains, systems, approaches or tools and, in particular, have a much longer shelf life.
So I don't know what the "common sense" in the organisation of projects will be in twenty years' time and what concrete technological disruption we will have to deal with then - but I try to master the basic principles of the software tester's craft today in such a way that it will probably still be valid in twenty years' time and I will "only" have to adapt it to the boundary conditions that will apply then.
For example, it's nice if I can master a specific test management tool today, but it won't help me in the future if I don't understand the underlying test management methods. It's good today if I can operate a specific test automation platform, but it won't help me in the future if I don't master the fundamental principles of test automation. Conversely, however, I am equipped for the coming test management tools and test automation platforms if I already master the underlying principles and methods today.
What does Future Testing look like? How will we test?
As described, we do not have to completely reinvent the testing of the future. Nevertheless, there is no "one" testing, just as there is no "today testing", there will be no "future testing". Testing will continue to develop and certain trends and focal points will certainly play an even greater role in the future.
Testing already has a strong acceptance today, I think that this will continue to consolidate and testing will become even better dovetailed with the other development activities and become more and more established, especially in the early phases of software development. Furthermore, the focus will continue to be on testing quality requirements and non-functional aspects, especially in the areas of IT security, usability and interoperability. Last but not least, in the past two years we have seen and learned about major changes in the possibilities of virtual and distributed collaboration. The pendulum will certainly not swing back from 100% remote to 100% on-site. But we have seen that remote can work and therefore we need to look more closely at the technical and social challenges of distributed testing in order to create and maintain the right framework.
How can testers and test managers prepare for this today?
In addition to lifelong learning, the right mindset and mastery of the right principles and methods, it might help us in the community if we were sometimes less concerned with roles than with tasks. For example, from my point of view it is idle and energy-consuming to deal with the question whether "you still need a test manager nowadays". We should move away from the question of the correct role designation and concern ourselves with which tasks are important and how we can map these tasks in the best possible and sustainable way in our specific project context. In the future, there will still be classic organizational forms in which projects are organized hierarchically and "you need a test manager" - whether you personally think this is good or bad doesn't matter at all. At the same time, there will be holocratic forms of organization that function completely differently. In both forms, however, we need to adequately map software testing, and it would help each side to view its own day-to-day work less dogmatically.