Is “Testing” a Bad Word?

There have been a few instances where I’d be working on a task related to my testing of a feature of application and I’d overhear something that would make me ask myself “Is Testing a bad word?”

Things like “this will have to be qa’d” or “we’re going to have to quality control this application” or “we’ll send this off to qa”. Once I even heard a software tester say “hey we’re not quality assurance”,  I smiled for an instant until I heard the second part of the statement “we’re quality control”.  While I do realize these statements are made due to miseducation or a misunderstanding of what these “software testers” actually do and the purpose they serve, it doesn’t stop me from asking myself if testing is a bad word.

There are some individuals with whom I’ve had conversations with to try to help them distinguish between the two and maybe even enlighten them to the fact that they aren’t assuring quality or controlling quality as Software Testers. I’ve even used some examples I’ve learned studying Michael Bolton’s work to illustrate my point “The role for us is not quality assurance; we don’t have control over the schedule, the budget, programmer staffing, product scope, the development model, customer relationships, and so forth.”  I’m often told “well here we are quality assurance”.

But on the other side, there are other individuals I’ve spoken to – smart, enthusiastic Software Testers who want to think when doing their job, who want to do meaningful work and have the results of their efforts serve a good purpose, who are enlightened by some of the content I’m sharing with them – I like to refer to this as the bright side.

So is Testing a Bad Word?  Hmm I guess that depends on who you ask.

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