Posted by Eric Jacobson at Wednesday, March 09, 2011
The users found a bug for something that was marked “PASSED” during the test cycle. I made this remark to my programmers and one of them said “Ha ha, testers just mark tests ‘passed’ without doing anything”.
He was joking but he raised a frightening thought. What if he were right? What if you gave testers a list of 100 tests and they just marked them PASSED without operating the product? How would you know? The sad truth is, 95 of those tests probably would have passed, had the product been operated, anyway. The other 5 could arguably have been tested under different conditions than those deemed to raise the bug. And this is what makes testing both so unsatisfying to some testers and so difficult to manage.
If you can get the same result doing nothing, why bother?
We have an on-going debate about working from home. Let a programmer work from home and at the end of the day you can see what code they checked in. You have something substantially more tangible than that of a tester (even if that tester takes detailed test notes). It’s not an issue of trust. It’s an issue of motivation.
I believe testers who are uninterested in their job can hide on test teams easier than other teams, especially if their managers don’t take the time to discuss the details of what they actually tested. They may be hiding because they’ve never gotten much appreciation for their work.
Having a conversation with a tester about what they tested can be as easy as asking them about a movie they just saw:
- How did George Clooney do?
- Was it slow paced?
- Was the story easy to follow?
- Any twists or unexpected events?
- Was the cinematography to your liking?
If they didn’t pay much attention to the movie, you’ll know.