Based on my own test experiences and those of my testers, I've noticed the following.

At the start of a test cycle, if your test fails, your likely reaction is:
“Yeah, baby, it failed! Yesssss! I rock!”

At the end of a test cycle, if your test fails, your likely reaction approaches:
“Damn! I can’t believe it failed. We’re never going to get this done in time. ...On second thought, maybe it didn’t actually fail. Maybe I did something wrong, I heard the DBA was doing some kind of maintenance, maybe that was the problem. Besides, the production servers are much faster, I’m sure they would work better. Perhaps if I reboot and try again, it will work. Then I won't have to tell anybody.”

Can you relate on some level? Finding bugs in fresh software gives us a rush. We joke about it; “Let me sink my teeth into your code!”. But after a while, we get tired of finding bugs. We just want stuff to work so we can move on. As we approach the ship date, we start to feel frustrated when stuff crashes. We’re actually…wait for it…disappointed to find another bug. We wish the test had passed.

Testers, be careful. Don’t ever let yourself grow tired of finding problems. When that happens, your ability to investigate diminishes and your team value drops. I call this “Tester Fatigue”. Being aware of tester fatigue is probably all you need to know to avoid it and stay frosty.


  1. Yaniv said...

    I guess this 'testing fatigue' will always happen. We're human after all. When that happens first submit the bug(s). Then what might help (if possible), is to go and work on some other stuff: other tests, other product, write different test cases, etc. After a while, go back to what you did before, hopefully with a fresh mindset.

  2. Inder P Singh said...

    Another way to keep yourself motivated is to see the journey (and not the destination) as important.

  3. Richard Siemens said...

    I admit I suffer the same symptoms described. Biting into a nice juice bit of Build 1 code is a great feeling. But another aspect to these symptoms is wanting our software to succeed.

    We, fortunately, have a great team mentality where I work. We all try to work together towards great software. I want our software to go out the door on time, under budget, and with a high level of quality. Finding a bug late in the process puts that in jeopardy.

    Additionally finding a late bug also means there is a chance that I missed the bug that could have been caught earlier, which is never a good feeling :)

    Do you have any ideas of combating tester fatigue?

  4. SQA Services said...

    I am agree with you As we approach the ship date, we start to feel frustrated when stuff crashes.this is really a good post.

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