I’m pleased to run the fifth interview in our #testerstory series with our guest Fatima Zohra from Morocco. She will tell us about her journey, how she became a software tester from scratch and the her experience being in an agile team.

Hope it will inspire lots of you reading this blog in your career as tester and give you insightful agile practices.

If you have a ‘testing related story’ reach me out to tell more about it in interview format. Get in touch via twitter @emna__ayadi or linkedin Emna Ayadi.

Part 1: Introduction and work from home experience

1.   Tell us about your experience, background? 

So let’s start from the beginning ! I have a Master degree in « Computer Science Methods applied to Company Management ». And I have been a Test Analyst since the start of my career. 

2.   When did you discover testing for the first time ?

 I have discovered testing when I was preparing my end of study graduation project: I was asked to develop a BPM (Business Process Management) solution that manages some functionalities of a banking institute. 

I have decided to do all the process (I mean analysing requirements, designing the system, implementation and testing as well).

During that period, I learnt that testing doesn’t mean only doing component testing BUT it’s another IT world that  needs to be revealed.

3. What advice can you give to students if they want to choose software testing as their first career job ?

My advice to students or new graduated IT engineers who want to start their careers as a Test Engineer (Functional and/ or automation testing Engineer) is to: 

+ Read articles about testing and its tools : Today, there are lots of interesting blogs, platforms and websites with  great content about software testing that could help them learn theoretical and practical aspects useful for their careers.

 + Put theory into practice: Be active in the global testing community and try to find an internship or a first job where they can put into practice what they have learnt/ are learning.

 + Work on their vocabulary as a tester: For that it’s nice to attend software testing courses available online from many experts and I also recommend preparing for certificates (Such as ISTQB Foundation Level for beginners).

Besides, there are many skills that are required to be  worked on to be a good tester (Like :  Critical thinking, Organization, Good at Reporting, A Positive attitude, and so on).

4.   Let’s talk about 2020 labelled as “the remote year”, tell us about your move to remote agile mode ?

I am an agile tester. So for me working remotely while using an agile methodology or framework helps to get good results if only there is good communication between the agile team members.

Of course, working on site has a different taste. But I guess that we can achieve the same aims if we have the same team goals (=> Having an agile mindset)

5.   How did you face agile practices remotely ? How do you maintain the same quality of work when everyone is working from home ?

As I said before, working remotely is not really a bad idea especially when there is an agile culture within the organization.

Let ‘s take the example of SCRUM as an agile framework. Normally SCRUM encourages its team to share ideas and to propose improvements in order to ensure quality whether from home or from the office . It is a framework that we can adapt depending on our needs (Company’s needs).

So I guess adapting SCRUM framework or agile methodologies in general helps a lot maintaining the same quality of work when team members are working remotely. 

Part 2: Agile testing in practice

6. How do you see the role of QA professionals in agile teams ?

Agile testers are a part of the dev team, as we call it in SCRUM. Their role is really important : To make it simple, they are there to put themselves in the user’s shoes. No one in the dev team is supposed to do it but testers.

7.   Did you face the transition from traditional methods to agile ones ? if yes, what was the impact of this change on your job ? 

I have worked with both methods (A traditional one when I was a trainee and an agile one as a test analyst). So for me the difference is really blatant.

The traditional method – I used the waterfall- doesn’t encourage communication between different team members. Otherwise, the tester uses requirements to design test cases of the whole product and waits for the programmer to develop all the functionalities so that he/she can start executing tests.

The agile method, and especially SCRUM, works differently. The communication between the SCRUM team is not an option. It is required from the beginning of the sprint until its end. It means that the dev team (Testers, Programmers, …) defines the HOW and works together to meet the sprint goal.

In brief, I can say that an agile tester = a « traditional » tester + required agile criterias.
So there is a difference between the two. It can be summed up as having an agile mindset.

8.    How testers can be engaged with the development team and avoid working in silos ?

 I think that we are talking here about traditional methods, because in agile (or SCRUM for example) testers are part of the dev team. They can’t work in silos.

But in traditional methods, I think that the whole team (PO, Programmers, testers …) should work together, they should have a clear goal to work towards. Otherwise, the big picture will not be clear and the customer’s needs won’t be satisfied.

9. How do you see “Test Automation” in “Agile Environment” ? 

As I am concerned, I think that test automation in an agile environment is not a must ( But it can be a very interesting choice  => The decision of adopting it should be studied first depending on the need).

Part 3: Conclusion 

10.  What advice do you give for both junior or senior testers who want to improve the quality of their work ?

Dear junior or senior testers,

The only advice that I can share with you is to keep learning and improving your knowledge everyday. It is so important so that you can be updated on the latest technologies, tools or concepts that can impact the future of testing or IT in general.

Kind Regards,

11. Anything else you want to share with the testing community ?

I want to thank you first for this opportunity that allowed me to share my experience. The only thing I want to add is to encourage people to keep learning, it is the key to shine.

Thank you so much Fatima for being part of this interview, sharing your experience and thoughts. You are also an inspiration for both students who want to know how to start from scratch in software testing and other testers who want to adpot more agile practices in their team and become better tester . I encourage you to continue on your brillant journey.

You can find more about Fatima via Twitter or Linkedin.

Interviews History: