Adding good testers is a start but there’s a lot more

There are many factors that go into the quality of what you end up delivering to your customers. Good testing (and making informed decisions from it) is just one of them. The members on the team, the commitment to do great work, the environment for people to do top notch work, the architecture the system is built on, the development, the project management, the decision making, communication, collaboration, system testability, the situation you put your team in to succeed (or not succeed) – the list can go on and on.

Adding good software test people to your team is a great start if you’re looking to improve the testing on your team, within your company, and are interested in having your software development teams deliver great work. However, it does not automatically improve your quality or testing situation.

Good testers, just like the other people on your team and in your company, need to be put in situations where they can do great work and succeed. One of the many things a good tester will do and understands, is that time and budget is always limited, but the amount of things to testing isn’t. They will focus on doing the best testing, the most important testing possible in the time available, in the current situation, and present their stakeholders with a report about their testing which will include problems, risk factors, and about the test coverage (among other things) so that the decision makers can make informed business decisions.

But when you find yourself constantly saying “we don’t have the time to test much” or “we don’t have the budget to go that deep into testing”, what you’re really saying is “we don’t have the time or budget to properly evaluate our product” which is a quote I got from Michael Bolton. When you ask your testers to just quickly check that something is working, just to confirm that a function works as it’s supposed to and go no further – it’s important to understand that there isn’t much value to that – and most good testers will tell you that.

Having good software test people on your team is a great start, but it’s not automatically going to improve the testing being done. You need to put them in a situation where they can do great work and help the team deliver great products, and not restrict them in ways that impact the value of what they’re actually delivering to you in terms of information about the quality of the product under test. Don’t falsely convince yourself that just because there was some testing done, it was enough, or that it was good, or that it automatically increased the quality of what you’re going to deliver.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs


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