This article is by Pradeep Soundararajan, our guest author at SoftwareTestingHelp.
Many thousands of software testers I came across had the notion that they are into testing and are solely responsible for quality. Some of them even think that being a tester also empowers them as a God of Quality for the product.
The questions I ask you is: Is this for good?
Here is what I think and would like to see you considering these ideas.
Quality is everyone’s responsibility and not just a tester out there or thousands of them out there. If your family has to be happy, you can’t assign a person in your family as ensurer of happiness and catch the ensurer responsible if something goes wrong. If a family has to be happy forever, it has to happen with everyone participating and facilitating it.
Similarly, if a product must have quality, every stakeholder from customer, requirements, design, development, testing and support must have equal responsibility towards it.
However, some organizations who are not serious about testing or fake their seriousness about testing hire a tester for every project to make a tester scapegoat when any of their customers find a bug. These testers who are made to feel themselves as Quality God’s start feeling guilty about the idea of missing a bug and take responsibility for missing a bug.
This happens because most testers have a screwed up understanding of what testing is. They carry an idea of testing as improving quality while it is not improving quality but finding information about quality.
By reporting bugs – the quality by itself isn’t improving unless someone cares to fix it. Now, if you have been working as testers you would know that many times by trying to fix a bug, 2 or more new bugs are introduced. So, probably, each bug a tester reports and each bug being fixed and new springing up, the quality might be decreasing.
I must also admit that lesser bugs doesn’t necessarily mean good quality. Jerry Weinberg, a living legend of software testing who was the first person to start a testing team way back in 1960’s defines “Quality is value to some person who matters” and then Michael Bolton expanded it to “It is a testers responsibility to find out who matters and what matters to them”. So fantastic.
Here are some of the problems that happen if testers continue to think of themselves as Quality God’s
Issues with developers: Testers start seeing developers as demons who are spoiling quality and get into issues with them. This impacts the performance of the whole team and developers start disrespecting the testing community itself. So, testers who cause this problem, not only spoil their name but all our names as well.
Its like batsmen accusing of bowlers to have given a lot of runs. If a cricket team has to function well then bowlers and batsmen have to work together to make the team win. Sometimes batsmen fail to perform and other times bowlers. You may want to think of yourselves as humans just as developers and both of you are equally capable of making mistakes. However, focusing on your skills of thinking can help the team’s success.
Guilty of missing a bug: When a bug is missed, the tester feels all alone responsible for missing it. Such testers don’t think they are a part of the entire team, which missed it. I am talking about all stakeholders responsible for missing it.
If 4 runs is needed of the last ball and a batsman fails to score, is the batsman responsible for the loss of the team?
Failing to learn: A pattern among all those testers who assume themselves as God’s of quality fail to learn. The feeling of being THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE makes their mind to think they have learned almost everything and everything they have learned is right.
Let me take this open bet: 90% of the testers I have met by traveling to all places in India haven’t read a testing book yet despite several years of experience. You would hardly find a developer who has not read a development related book but testers think everything about testing online is good and fine.
This surprises me – testers don’t test their own learning. How can I believe that they can test even half as good as they claim?
Now, I am not forcing you to change but let me tell you that none of the respected testers of the world have an idea about themselves as God’s of quality or being the only person responsible for quality. You may want to take a clue from it and change but it is you who is causing the change and not me.
If you are willing to change a little further, you may want to consider thinking:
– Testing as providing information about quality
– Developers as sources of information
– Test Coverage as a key factor for success of a test team
– Success of the entire team is the success of a test team
– Missing bugs is not always a tester’s fault
– Testers are humans and humans are fallible ( they fail )
– Testers are as imperfect as developers
– Helping other testers to get the ideas right after you have got it
Pradeep is a renowned tester, thinker and thought leader and an international speaker in software testing and problem solving. He writes a popular blog Tester Tested! and tests, coaches, consults, manages testing and testers.