Not Wanted on the Voyage

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The best we can do is to describe the testing we have and have not done and what we have and have not found out about the software. We can apply our best professional judgment to describing the significance of our work and our findings, and we can categorize that significance in terms of risk—while understanding that we are not always in the best position to estimate the business impacts of software problems.

The tester's job isn't to judge. It's to provide information about the software to help management make informed decisions. That's a difficult, honorable, and challenging job. We shouldn't denigrate it by becoming gatekeepers.

Let's Get Rid of Them
I don't think testers want to be labeled Not Wanted on the Voyage. We want to contribute real value to software projects with our unique testers' mindset and skills. To ensure that future, we all need to keep growing what we do and how we do it.

A culture that values process over skill, an adversarial attitude, and a gatekeeper mentality are heavy baggage for testers to carry around. They hold us back from doing our best work. They alienate our teammates and perpetuate beliefs that we are inflexible and incapable of adaptation—a poor bet for shipmates on challenging voyages.

I'd like to slap Not Wanted on the Voyage labels on all these counter-productive practices and beliefs. But let's not store them in the hold for future use. Let's throw them overboard! Or quietly leave them behind on the quay.

About the author

Fiona Charles's picture Fiona Charles

<span class="Text"><strong>Fiona Charles</strong> is a Toronto-based test consultant and manager with thirty years of experience in software development and integration projects. Fiona is the editor of <em><a href="http://www.stickyminds.com/s.asp?F=S1149_BOOK_4" target="_blank">The Gift of Time</a></em>, featuring essays by consultants and managers of various professions about what they've learned from Gerald M. Weinberg. Through her company, Quality Intelligence, Inc., Fiona works with clients in diverse industries to design and implement pragmatic test and test management practices that match their unique business challenges. Her experiential workshops facilitate tester learning by doing, either on the job or at conferences. Contact Fiona via her Web site at <a href="http://www.quality-intelligence.com/" target="_blank">www.quality-intelligence.com</a>.</span>

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