The role of testing at TAB is driven by the understanding that quality can only be measured in terms of the value that people place on our products and services. By understanding the risks that can threaten this value, we can begin to frame our testing and shine a light on problems in terms of our ideas, designs, processes, tools, artefacts and also software. For that reason, what we do is about much more than just checking software requirements. It is also about applying our analytical minds to a variety of different problems and contexts so that we can best help our teams and colleagues deliver great products.
By applying our skills to a variety of areas, Testers at TAB become integral members of the team throughout the whole lifecycle of a project and product. This means our Testers are always finding ways to add value; be it presenting at client pitches, getting involved during early discovery phases or technical spikes. The result is our Testers can champion quality outcomes much earlier in the process and help foster responsibility for quality across the whole team while accumulating important domain knowledge. The role then becomes one of guidance and collaboration, rather than that of a safety net like the traditional role of Quality Assurance.
Another aspect of the role is tackling mindsets and assumptions. Old and misguided notions of testing still permeate the industry which see testing as something that happens after development. Tackling such ideas requires a constant willingness to challenge mindsets constructively. This can be done in a variety of ways; from wider education pieces across the company, to perhaps a simple conversation with a Developer or Client. It’s about being alert to these opportunities as they present themselves and having the patience to carry on the good fight. Through a combination of strong hiring and mentorship, we have encouraged our Testers to tackle these issues as part of their role.
Fostering a better role for Testing at TAB has required more than conversations alone. A big part of our culture at TAB is built on the willingness to grow, learn and develop our craft. Over the years we have encouraged our Testers to share learnings or problems they face. Weekly CoP (Community of Practice) sessions where all of our Testers get together mean there are lots of opportunities to share knowledge and pride in our work. Sometimes these sessions form learnings that we can take to other company meetings such as Backend, Android, Web or even the Strategy team. Cross-functional learning is highly valued at TAB and having the confidence to step inside one of these sessions is made easier when testing is valued and put on an even footing with other disciplines.
Finally, here at TAB we recognise that different Testers bring different skill-sets to the mix and we understand there is not always a one path fits all approach in terms of career development. We are keen to recognise talent in all its forms and place great emphasis on giving our Testers the autonomy to take initiative on leading the things most important to them. Some of our Testers are keen on deep-diving into code or working on automation, others may like to focus on exploratory skills and coaching teams. Some of our Testers champion different areas such as Diversity, Accessibility or Behaviour Driven Development to name a few. Giving people the space to try new things keeps the team open to new ideas and ways to grow.
There are many facets to the role of testing at TAB. Ultimately the role is about using our skills to champion quality in collaboration with our colleagues and other disciplines. This is rooted in our understanding of quality as everyone’s responsibility. The role is also based on a willingness to challenge constructively and educate where misguided notions of testing still exist. Testing at TAB is about having the autonomy and support needed to try new things and champion new approaches while sharing learnings amongst ourselves or the wider company. Through this enhanced role at TAB, Testers are central to shaping ideas, processes and outcomes throughout the company.