Finding the perfects

Friend and tester colleague Jesper Ottosen participated in what appeared to be a great event and discussion at EuroStar 2010: The rebel alliance night (link to Shmuel Gershon’s blog with video recordings of the talks), where he spoke about whether we as testers can start looking for more than defects. What if we started looking for the perfects?

I like the idea: Is testing really only about finding problems? It can be depressing to be the one always to tell the bad news (especially when there is a lot of bad news or the bad news are not really welcome). Do we testers really have to be worried all the time? If we start communicating perfects too, will our careers not get both better and more successful?

I see a problem, though. Looking for good things will be in conflict with the very mindset of testing. Programming is a creative process where the programmer creates something new and unique. He does it to solve a problem and he does it in the assumption that it will solve the problem. If he starts out assuming that it won’t work, he will be psychologically blocking his creativity and he will probably not perform well.

As a tester, I look at software with the reverse assumtion: I assume that it will not work. This assumption is stimulating my creativity to find the bugs because I will get ideas of where they’re hiding.

With that assumption, I just can’t be successful looking for good things!

That said, however, I do beleive that we sometimes need to be positive, especially to satisfy some managers and programmers. They’re used to hear bad news from us and some people can’t take that. Switching for a moment to looking for “perfects” might actually work very well in this respect. Just don’t forget that we’re doing it for them, not to do our job.

And don’t forget that it can only be for a while: We have to think negatively to be successful. We make a difference when we find the obvious problems with the product: The problems that will cause severe dissatisfaction among users and managers if they slip into product. We’re a great help to our clients because we prevent bugs by finding them before the users!

Here’s Jesper at EuroStar 2010:

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7 thoughts on “Finding the perfects

    1. You’re most welcome, Jesper!
      Thanks for referencing the UAT articles. UAT is not working the way it’s mostly used – I think I’ll have do a blogpost soon on that 🙂

      1. I’ll be looking forward to that Anders!
        All the letters/parts of UAT are gone, perhaps replaceable by Checking/Testing – Critical Thinkers for Hire (MB inspired)

  1. Pretty good word 🙂
    Tester work should be seen like a Critic, which lies under common business goal with the Developer.
    A different look but common vision!!!
    I feel a tester should approach with positive assumption that things will work and move ahead with positive node. Once he/she doesn’t find any hurdle…things are moving without any problem…it’s good… hurray 🙂 ..don’t stop here….job is yet to be done. Then start finding the possible risky zone/faulty area. If it’s not there try to create and check the outcome.

    1. Hi Atulesh, you have a very good point there: We share vision with developers: A fine working finished product! And we have reason to celebrate too when the product is shipped. Absolutely!

      That said, I find that I do my best criticism when I have that mother-in-law’s mental attitude: There’s probably something wrong here! 😀 That’s not going to make me popular with my colleagues if it was also my attitude towards them – but it certainly isn’t!

      Thanks for commenting!! 🙂

  2. let’s challenge the team by thinking positive. Having a positive mindset in the team will lead to great results. Think about not only finding defects but more the positive mindset in helping to fix the goal of the project. Think about quality and ow the product can be improved.

    You can use part of the Friday for these things. The creativity will be stimulated and they will work to great and new solutions.

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