STAREAST 2009: What Price Truth? When a Tester is Asked to Lie

Fiona Charles

As testers, our job is to report the current state of software quality on our projects. But in the high-stakes, high-risk business of software development, some may pressure us to distort the message. When projects are late or quality is poor, software managers' reputations-even their jobs-may be on the line. Our testing progress report could be the biggest obstacle to a "green light" project status report or an on-time delivery. When testers see project disconnects-rosy status reports and repeatedly late delivery; managers shutting down open discussions of project risks; managers trying to close down testing that is exposing major bugs; or suggestions to "get creative" with the metrics-we need to beware. Fiona Charles discusses the reasons testers must refuse to compromise reality, how to secure detailed records of project progress and status, and the possibility of having to "blow the whistle"-regardless of the consequences.

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