Sunday, July 15, 2018

Testing does not improve quality - but a tester often does!

Being a self-proclaimed authority in exploratory testing, I find it fun when I feel the need of appealing to another authority. But the out of the blue comment the awesome Kelsey Hightower made today succinctly puts together something I feel I'm still struggling to say:  Testers do their work to save time for stakeholders next in chain. 
Actually, nothing in this tweet says that you need a *tester* to do this. It just refers to highly intellectual and time consuming activity, which to me implies that doing something like that might take a bit of time to focus.

With the European Testing Collaboration Calls, I've again been privileged to chat with people who trigger my focus to important bits. Yesterday it was someone stating their observation very much in sync with what Kelsey here is saying: for many of the organizations we look at that go for full hybrid roles, it turns out that the *minority perspective* of the exploratory testers tends to lose in the battle, and everyone just turns into programmers not even realizing why they have problems while in production on scale beyond "this is what we intended to build".

Today in prep for one of the Collaboration Calls, I got triggered with the sentence "testing does not improve quality". I sort of believe it doesn't, especially when it is overly focused on what we intended to build and verifying that. The bar is somewhere and it is not going up.

But as a tester, I've lived a career of raising the bar - through what I call testing. It might have started off like in one organization that 20 % of users were seeing big visible error messages, and that is where the bar was until I pointed out how to reproduce those issues so that the fixing could start. But I never stop where we are now, but look for the next stretch. When the basics are in place, we can start adding more, and optimizing. I have yet to find an organization where my tester work would have stalled, but that is a question of *attitude*. And that attitude goes well with being a tester that is valuable in their organization.

How do you raise the bar through your tester (or developer) role?