This post is about my comment on Kristin Jackvony’s blog post Measuring Quality.
During my software testing career, I noticed that testers like to claim ownership of product quality. It’s like this will make them more valuable on the project because they usually do not know how to think in programming languages. I am a multilingual software developer but also fell into the trap of quality ownership at the beginning of my software testing career.
Quality is a tricky business. If you think that it is possible to own the quality, that implies that quality is measurable. Read this excellent blog post from James Bach, Assess Quality, Don’t Measure It, and think again.
In her post, Kristin states:
“Software testers are to software what the immune system is to the human body. When a person’s immune system is working well, they don’t think about it at all. They get exposed to all kinds of viruses and bacteria on a daily basis, and their immune system quietly neutralizes the threats”.
She fell into a trap that software testers are quality keepers. Software testers can not prevent any bug to become part of the application. Only developers could do that by changing their approach to quality. When you found a bug, a bug was already there.
I also commented on her another statement:
“Software testers have the same problem: when they are doing their job really well, there is no visible impact on the software. Key decision-makers in the company may see the software and praise the developers that created it without thinking about all the testing that helped ensure that the software was of high quality.”
Software tester’s work could easily become visible. Write at the end of every week’s summary email to your manager about how your testing helped to make their illusion about perfect software.
Kristin replied on my comments:
“I agree with you that testers are not the keepers of quality. However, I believe that testers can have a huge influence on the quality of an application by pointing out where the bugs are. Here’s an example- at a company where I worked, I would always test every form field by attempting to enter in all the lyrics to “Frosty the Snowman”. I found a lot of bugs this way. The developers I worked with learned that I would always run this test, so they started doing the same test before they gave a new feature to me for testing. In this way, the software began to be of higher quality.”
In the context of James Bach’s post, Kristin assessed that product quality is better in some attributes when software testers are involved. I like her gamification approach with the song lyrics. Doing that, she managed that developers started using Frosty the Snowman heuristic into their development cycle.
Kristin responded to my comment. It does not matter that she agreed with it. If we have different opinions of quality gatekeepers would still help me (and other blog readers), to better understand the overall problem with software quality.