Facebook’s No QA Approach

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Should QA people be afraid?

Facebook does not have a testing department whatsoever and their team is stating that this approach might actually be the future of software development. So do the testers actually have their place in the new world of software development?

Yes, of course they do. It is not a trend that is scary. It is something that is actually opening new opportunities to testers. Yes, it most certainly will be quite a challenge for a tester to show his unique value to the company he is working at. But it is worth the effort.

The Changes that are coming

Creativity is the key that opens the new software development gates for testers. Releases tend to come out with lightning speed these days. Thus adjusting to that speed is rather a necessity. And such adjustments fill require some real-deal creativity as well as some new coding skills and some other key factors like small feedback loops, etc.

In a faster release sequence there might not be enough place for a QA department that is at arm’s length or, as the worst scenario, is entering the stage somewhere about the finish line. The thing with quality is that it can’t just be added at the end of the process as some small and/or irrelevant detail. It has to be there through the entire process.

Thus a next-generation tester will require

  • Technical competence
  • Advanced ‘soft’ skills
  • Coding skills

Such a set of abilities will allow modern testers to be as close to the development process as possible. The need of somebody translating their thoughts into something the machine can understand will go away as a summer noon daydream.

There are some ideas that are trying to grab on to the day that is gone. One of such is the idea that testers do not need to know how the software was developed. The idea is that such knowledge may affect their professional view on software. And I’d have to agree with Facebook’s policy on that one. Knowing the entire process only helps testers rather than harms them in any way. Let’s make a simple example. When you are going for a serious surgery operation would you prefer your surgeon to be with a med school diploma and knowledge of how your body works?

Following the script is nice. To some extent. QA’s following the script policy gives them a bad image-name. People tend to think that testers are as far from development as it can get and that is a fake belief, which, hopefully, will be ruined shortly. Yet erasing this absurd misbelief will have a cost of its own.

This approach of Facebook might be the future of the industry. Or it might not. The point of this entire article, as for me is the main message: we live in a shifting and evolving world of software, thus testers also need to be creative, flexible and open-minded. That is the bottom point.