T-Shaped People: Time to Get in Shape for Your Testing Future

Mary Thorn

Today, agile testers are being asked to do a lot more than just testing. The notion of “T-shaped people,” who combine technical skills with collaborative capabilities, was created by Tim Brown in the 1990s to describe the new breed of worker. Mary Thorn believes that anyone—including testers—can contribute more to the business than their standard role traditionally dictates. The tester’s critical view and skeptical thinking can be used earlier in the development process. This role can stretch to include other aspects that intrigue them and keep them interested. Mary has testers who write product documentation, serve as ScrumMasters, build infrastructure to support rapid releases, take ownership for security and compliance to standards, present the development process to customers, visit customer sites to research how people are using the product, write social media content, devise internal communication strategies, do agile coaching, create personas, and use their natural skills and abilities where they are best suited to help move the business forward. Mary explores many ways testers can “Get into Shape” for future testing.

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