Jul 07

We Don’t Break Things – They’re Already Broken

Fellow Software Tester and President of the Association for Software Testing, Ben Yaroch posted a tweet earlier today (which I later re-tweeted) that highlighted something I’ve encountered a few times in my career – you can view his tweet here.

The content of the tweet and the picture that goes with it say it all.  This misconception, this misbelief, this misunderstanding – illustrated in the photo,  is something I’ve seen many professionals, some of whom are highly respected within the scope of the project requiring testing support, unknowingly fall victim too.

The Software Testing group (or QA group as it’s called in many companies) are not breaking the software we’re asked to test – us skilled testers (and I can’t speak for all of us) are discovering things in the software that we are assigned to test (often using specific skills relevant to testing such as heuristics) to help discover and identify problems in the software.

Now what happens, and what we Software Testers do once we’ve discovered things about the software – information about the quality of the software, can vary depending on the company, and even different projects within the same company.  What I mean by this is that at certain companies or projects, the Software Testers may have to spend a great deal of time and effort advocating for what we’ve discovered.  At other companies & projects the Software Testers may need to identify whom the “correct” stakeholders are, before these important pieces of information can eve be presented to them. Now the last statement can veer into at least two different posts, but for this post I’d like to remain on topic and to remind, or bring to the attention of stakeholders & active members of a given project (and those looking to learn more about me) that the goal, purpose and mission (yes this is a broad mission/statement) of testing is to find & provide information about the software – including things that are already broken that we discover while testing. Despite what people may believe, or have been led to believe … No, we don’t break things – they’re already broken.