Agile continues to be a sought after development approach, team after team attempts to go agile and ask any job hunting tester what they’re looking for and more often than not you’ll hear agile being listed. Personally I love agile, done well you’ll end up working in a fast paced environment with a fantastic team but I am concerned how many people just wander into it blindly just because it’s the hip thing to do rather than because they, or their teams, are suited to it,
Agile is a full team approach, the best teams have managed to eliminate silos with everyone doing whatever is needed to get the job done. But that doesn’t mean we’re cowboys, instead you’ll find that just like every other team the people using agile have a wide range of skills and experiences, but unlike traditional approaches they are probably more likely to have diverse skills and will almost certainly be more ready to do what it takes to learn the skills they need to get things done.
In the past I have worked on a number of V-model testing projects and each time I would spend weeks, maybe months, writing detailed test strategies and test plans from hundred-paged requirement specs and each time I would be dying to get into the actual testing. Then the testing phase would begin and after completing the first 2-3 rounds of testing and doing the same mindless testing over and over for weeks at a time I would be dying to get back to test planning. For me agile works well, everything is on a short cycle, test planning is usually a few hours, maybe a day or two max, testing phases always involve exploratory testing and the emphasis on automation eliminates almost all the mindless, repetitive testing.
Unlike traditional approaches I can actually get involved early, agile has a great emphasis on the entire team working together to spec out user stories this is a perfect way to get developers thinking about testing before they even start coding. Add in Test Driven Development and you’ve suddenly got whole development teams caring about how testable a feature is.
Obviously like all software development projects things can go wrong, time pressures remain and there will always be times when things just do not go to plan. But if you enjoy arriving at work and not knowing quite how your day will look, being involved in projects right from the start and are good at dreaming up new and creative solutions to problems then agile might be the place for you.