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There is a song that is sung so often that every software tester knows the words: “But what does this have to do with testing?”

Organizational bias towards software testing has continued to haunt us throughout my career. With each successful mission to spread knowledge about our community and craft, I would encounter another challenge. A new manager, an opposing director or a newly contracted consultant who would overlook the potential benefits of including members of testing in key phases of critical projects. I was hiring experts in our target market, brilliant coders and researchers, and excellent critical thinkers but we continued to be overlooked only to be brought in too late to contribute key information that could have saved our projects time and money.

So as a team, we asked the question: “What if we did not call ourselves testers? Would anything change?” In other words... we had an interesting hypothesis about our system and like all good testers, we decided to test it in order to learn more about it.

In this presentation, I will present the story of our 18 month experiment with rotating job titles. I will highlight:

  • The startling impact this had on how the members of the testing team were included (and sought out) within development projects.
  • The dramatic changes in communication paths that happened within weeks of each job title change.
  • The emergence of extremely strong relationships in departments like marketing and product management.
  • The reaction when job titles would get changed back to software tester.
  • And most surprisingly, the observed companywide changes made to accommodate and empower the “new key roles” being filled by members of the testing team.