Friday, April 27, 2012

What Makes a Great Tester Great?

Imagine a tester so awesome that his developers banded together to take him to lunch each day for months so he would stop logging bugs for a while. (That's a true story from Microsoft). That got us thinking – what qualities take a tester from good, to great?

They understand the user, and the business. Great testers can visualize the impact of the bugs they find on customers. They feel users' pain, and read what they say on forums and blogs –brave testers may even spend some time working with their help desk to get some perspective. This is also critical for prioritizing testing. The best testers know that they will only be able to run a fraction of the test cases they come up with, and they scope their testing so that the bugs most likely to affect the user are executed first. And the best of the best? They use all of that intel to anticipate the future needs of the user.

Passion for what they do. Good testers are genuinely excited about bugs, but not because they take pleasure out of finding mistakes and rubbing a developer's nose in it. Great testers understand the cost and impact of the bug on the bottom line and on people's perceptions – and they understand how expensive it is (in every sense of the word) not to fix it.

They understand the user. Great testers can visualize the impact of the bugs they find on customers. They feel users' pain, and read what they say on forums and blogs –brave testers may even spend some time working with their help desk to get some perspective. This is also critical for prioritizing testing. The best testers know that they will only be able to run a fraction of the test cases they come up with, and they scope their testing so that the bugs most likely to affect the user are executed first. Anticipate future needs and really understand the business

They have people skills. Testers can take a lot of abuse from programmers – so being great requires a thick skin, a sense of diplomacy, and a sense of humor. The best of the best won't allow themselves to be kept in a silo, either. You'll find them engaging with all parts of the business, curiously asking questions and working to really "get" the big picture.

Great testers are an extremely rare breed. They are also absolutely critical to shipping quality software. If you're looking for software testing services, or wish you had a tester like this, we can help. Contact us at info@ideaentity.com.

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