OMG! I'm a tester!

Big Thoughts

1 November 2013 • Written by Sarah Burgess

A recent convert to being a ‘tester’, Sarah Burgess outlines the latest WeTest event which focused on how testing isn’t all that outsiders think it is…

We started the event with some insights into what other people think testers actually do. Some examples of quotes from people in my office included:

  • Write test plans
  • Quality control
  • Make sure developers respect specifications
  • Find defects
  • Have tolerance for developers being lazy
  • In a perfect world, we would not need testers
  • Layer of defence
  • My best guess? You guys play with software all day and find things that are broken
  • Do you play on the test site maybe?
  • Test stuff
  • Find other people’s bugs
  • Once a developer has done a build, take a rigorous look from the left, right and centre
  • Gatekeepers of the code
  • Push stuff out once you can't break it
  • Take code changes and check the changes work as they should
  • Try to break the site and tell the people who can fix it to fix it
  • Find all the problems before they happen
  • Very clever things
  • Test code

Here’s a snapshot of experiences from the early part of my career: 

First, I was involved (although not strictly in a testing role) in a client’s projects with a very heavy testing process that made me thing testing was boring and repetitive.

Secondly, I worked in a team responsible for ensuring that customised versions of the software going to customers worked. This headed me towards the testing space.

Thirdly, unfortunately, around this time, I came across a test manager who did not even understand how we should implement a new testing framework that had been decided on.

Why did my mind change?

Moving into implementation meant that I had more exposure to testing. With a twist, I was finally working with someone who did not believe that ‘good’ testing was all about massive amounts of test cases and slowly, but surely, changed the testing process within our team.

I then came along to a WeTest and attended Michael Bolton’s Critical Thinking workshop – the final part of my mindset change from testing being boring to testing being something I wanted to have a go at.

What are the good things about testing?

Exploring, searching (searching squirrel)

Learning new things (surprised squirrel)

Becoming an expert (wise owl)

…and the bad?

Sometimes we make mistakes… but we always learn from them!

Okay, yes. Sometimes we do have to do some grunt work.

Main points

If you are a test lead or test manager, be a good mentor.

I enjoy being a tester.

Making mistakes is as important as doing it right.

Discussion threads

Some interesting discussion came out of the points made, the quotes causing everyone to have a bit of a giggle. We decided that “You guys play with software all day and find things that are broken” was the closest.

Here are the threads…

Are developers lazier because they have testers? Do we allow developers to be blasé about the work they produce?

Developers vs Designers. Where do they fit in with testers?

OMG! I am also a tester. But all the things I do that aren’t testing, does that mean I am still a tester?

Testers have a terrible image problem – how do we fix that?

Testers care about quality – do you look at code as a tester?

Questions, questions…

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