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    Digital transformation has become a buzzword that is on the agenda of every organization that seeks to remain competitive. Companies need to integrate digital technology into their business processes to improve customer experience, enhance productivity, and streamline operations. Digital transformation has revolutionized how people communicate, share information, and consume products and services. However, companies are still struggling with the transformation of their services and business. But why is this so?

    In many cases, companies lack the customer perspective and have no idea what their customers really want and need. Frequently, it’s not the best idea to transform a non-digital product into a digital one. And last but not least, companies are lacking experts in the field of digital transformation. As a result, the demand for testers who are proficient in the field of modern software development will remain high.

    However, digital transformation is not coming as an easy next step, nor for companies or the people involved in this process. It’s coming with many new challenges, and software testers have to adjust themselves to be ready to handle all of them. At the same time, software testers are one crucial puzzle piece in the software development lifecycle to keep the customer experience in mind and to help development teams to keep the focus on the relevant topics.

    In this article, I will explain how testers can adjust themselves to not only help their companies in the phase of the digital transformation but also keep the customer in focus. I will also share my personal perspective on this topic. What did I experience in the world of digital transformation and the changing role of a software tester?

    Digital Transformation: Adjust Your Tester Self to The Customer

    For those of you working in the software development and testing industry for many years, changes and adjustments are nothing new. We entered the era of web applications and needed to adapt to it. We entered the era of mobile testing, API testing, cloud, and big data just to name a few others, and we needed to adjust ourselves to these technologies and the challenges coming with them.

    And there is a new technology entering the market that will drive digital transformation in the next years - Artificial Intelligence. AI in software testing is the hot topic in 2023 so far. There are plenty of testing tools and solutions that can make your life easier.

    So we need to adjust again. AI brings lots of potential to our craft. We can use AI to auto-generate test cases. We can use AI tools to self-heal, failing automated checks. And there is more to come. So the first thing a software tester should do, to be ready for the next tech topic, is to learn everything about AI.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • What is special about this new technology?
    • How can I benefit from it as a software tester?
    • How can this tech make my life easier?
    • How can we use this tech in our software development process?
    • How is this new technology helping our customers?

    And AI is just an example here in this context. Maybe in your industry or company, there are technologies emerging, and you need to gain new skills. The most important thing is, to have an open mindset and to be curious to learn something new and to adapt to change. Most important is the fact to accept change and that it’s something good.

    But keeping up with the latest technology is only one piece of the puzzle to master the digital transformation.

    Software Testers Focus More On Customer Centricity

    When I was working or starting with mobile testing in 2010, there weren’t that many tools for test automation or how to do mobile testing. It was a more green field and I had to try out many things fast. Fail fast and learn fast was my motto back then.

    After some time, I got into the tech and was able to set up automated checks and do testing activities on this new tech. However, at the same time, the “new” tech in 2010 and 2011 was still new for the company and more important for our customers! I had to learn that the developing and testing knowledge I gained for web applications wasn’t useless, but I had to learn new ways of working. One thing that I will never forget is the case of how you use a mobile device. You hold a real device in your hand, that you can use with one or multiple fingers, while you are walking around.

    That was and is still completely different from web or desktop applications. Web and desktop applications are used mostly on a big screen, while a person is sitting on a chair in front of a screen, keyboard, and mouse. The input sources are limited. This was one of my biggest learnings when the new technology of mobile entered my career in 2010. I had to get rid of the web and desktop thinking when testing the mobile app.

    Understand User Experience

    Another thing I had to learn when starting with mobile apps, is that the user experience (UX) is a critical component of digital transformation and especially for mobile apps. UX design involves creating interfaces that are intuitive, easy to use, and visually appealing. As a tester, you must understand the user’s perspective and be able to provide feedback on the usability and functionality of the software.

    Therefore, it’s crucial to learn more about user experience as a software tester. Gather all the UX topics related to the technology you are working on. From usage patterns to libraries can make the UX better.

    It’s key to success to put the user at the center of the digital transformation.

    Customer Centricity

    To focus on the user during the discovery, development, and testing phase, the name customer centricity has been established in the industry. The idea of it is to put the user at the center of every decision a development team is making, including software testing. Customers have high expectations for digital products and in particular in products that undergo a digital transformation. Before the digital transformation, the user knew how to use the non-digital version of the product.

    But is this the case for the digital twin? Therefore, software testers should be involved in the data gathering around users. What do they expect? What are the problems of the user, which the team should solve? What are the user journeys in your product? Why is the user using the product in this way and not in any other way? And there are more questions to ask and to get answers for.

    Use Customer Feedback to Improve Testing

    Last but not least, customer feedback is a valuable source of information for testers. It can help them identify areas of improvement and ensure that the digital product or service meets customer needs. Testers should use customer feedback to inform their testing strategies and ensure that the customer experience is seamless.

    All this information will help you as a software tester to shape your testing activities and provide as much value as possible to your team and the product. In the end, the whole software development team needs to adjust to the customer in order to plan, design, develop, and test a successful product.

    Team Collaboration and Communication

    And finally, when we are talking about digital transformation in software development teams, the success or failure of the product boils down to team collaboration and communication. Yes, it’s nothing new, but will always apply to projects where people are involved.

    I have seen many projects failing because the team wasn’t working as a team and the communication wasn’t right.

    Hence, it’s always important to take a step back from a team, to see how they collaborate with each other and how they communicate. This doesn’t need to be the software testers’ task, but often I have seen software testers taking the first step in bringing up the topic in a software development team, e.g. in the retrospective meeting.

    Easy first steps to improve the collaboration between the team members are for example pair programming, pair review sessions, or mob development sessions. And in all the mentioned steps, software testers should take part. However, the collaboration improvements shouldn’t stop at the team level. It’s very unlikely that modern software products are being developed by a single team. In most cases, there are multiple teams involved. Also, cross-team collaboration is important to improve.

    What applies to collaboration also applies to communication. It’s crucial to communicate as transparently as possible with each other to keep everyone in the information loop. Especially when managing a remote team or company setup, clear and transparent communication is key to success.


    No matter if you, your team, or your company are heading toward digital transformation or new technology, you have to accept that constant change is part of your job. I had to learn it myself when entering the mobile testing world. And to be honest, I made many mistakes, but I learned from them and improved the way I am working.

    There is no single day in the digital product development or software testing community where new topics, trends, and technology arise. And that is a good thing. Only with constant change, a learning mindset can be established and we can improve our skills. This will not only help us to keep a fresh mind, but also the customer you are working for.

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    About Daniel Knott
    Daniel Knott

    Daniel Knott

    Daniel loves digital products with high quality being it web or native mobile applications.
    Currently, he is working as Head of Product Quality Engineering at MaibornWolff in Germany, where he shapes the future of testing for his clients. In the past 13 years, he worked as Lead Software Test Engineer for different native mobile apps and products.
    Daniel wrote two books - Hands-On Mobile App Testing and Smartwatch App Testing and is a frequent blogger and conference speaker. Since 2022 he also created his YouTube Channel about Software Testing.

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