Traditionally, the word software tester usually meant finding bugs, automating processes, writing test cases, and establishing tester-developer relationships. But this isn’t the case anymore. Software testing has indeed matured into a much broader term especially in this era of agile organizations.
Whenever startups or bootstrapped companies hire employees they take a lot of factors into consideration. Some of them include budget, productivity, and ROI. This applies to software testers as well. The one major question that all startups need to answer is – should you test or not test the product before releasing it?
For me, it’s an absolute ‘yes’. Because defects found after the product release cost a lot more than the defects that get corrected before the product release.
The role of testers is changing now as many startups are looking at it differently. The tester not only tests the product but is also given multiple roles, especially in startups, which makes hiring and paying a tester worth it.
As someone who has worked in a startup set up for a while now, I am regularly involved in various roles.
The most important work of a Tester is to find defects or bugs/crashes in apps/products, automate the testing process, and write test cases. Smaller companies are always short on time. Therefore, the tester directly interacts with the developers and explains the defect completely, this makes the defect understanding quicker and resolution faster. With the direct interaction between the developer and other development teams, the tester is involved in every phase of development. The tester also directly communicates with higher management for the status of product and feature development, deciding the priorities of the defect, and discussing the major showstopper that delays the release. This makes the role of the tester, quite different than what it used to be before.
A tester should know the product end-to-end, very well, which also helps to get more clarity in testing. Not only the frontend or the UI side, but he/she should also know the architecture of the product, especially data flow and data architecture. Not all data analysis is present in the application. In this case, the tester can deliver various data analyses or the data itself from the backend to the client directly, without the involvement of any other technical person or higher management. Here the tester plays an important role, as he/she knows the architecture data and the data flows. Previously this kind of role was not being performed by testers but as the tester’s involvement in the development phases is increasing, companies depend on them to handle such roles.
The tester not only tests the product end-to-end but is also highly involved in the development process. This makes the tester understand the product very well. Sometimes clients face technical difficulties in the application, in such cases, a tester with his/her experience and the required technical knowledge can handle the situation and solve these difficulties quickly. Since in small companies the strength of resources is limited, it is helpful if a tester handles such cases.
More interactions with clients help a tester to understand what exactly the clients’ are looking for. By solving client-side problems and gathering feedback the tester will be able to suggest, though limited, any UI changes or client’s demands in an application. So, with the business view, and in fact with a technical and testing experience – a tester becomes a valuable part of the organization.
To put it all together a tester must be an all-rounder. In a startup-like environment, a tester not only tests but also coordinates closely with the development team, manages customers, and contributes to product development. This not only helps the organization in a big way but also enhances greatly the profile of an individual.