Blog post

Tester Effectiveness Isn’t About Bugs Found

By Thomas Murphy | January 22, 2010 | 3 Comments


Finding defects is only 1/2 the job for a tester and it isn’t the most important.  The most important job is getting bugs fixed.  The Tester isn’t directly responsible for the fix but an effective tester will 1) find test cases that make the defect so readily apparent the developer can’t say it is not going to happen and 2) works effectively with the developers describing the condition and getting defect fixed.  The goal of testing isn’t simply to find bugs, it is to ensure that quality software gets shipped.  Still a tester’s job is to find defects, to attack the program from every angle, it isn’t just a validation job.  But ultimately a found bug that is rejected, reprioritized, and not fixed produces a suboptimal result.  It takes teamwork and a skill to find bugs and get them fixed.  This is one of the reasons a move to centralized test factories requires very strong collaboration skills and tools – centralization will stress any communication gaps and those gaps are the cracks through which defects fall into production.

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  • Bob Bartlett says:

    A good point. This means testers must be managed so they are allowed to define new test cases that drill down on the problem and validate the fix when it is available. Finding a bug is like finding an injured person. Stay with it until someone is there to take ownership to fix it. The process of fixing should only be closed when the tester that found the bug, signs off on the resolution too.

  • Yes, the challenge comes when the testing is done by contract or with an outsource group because of a desire to “control costs” and the idea of these testers adding more test cases sounds like testers making more work for themselves. Given that difference in cost for a defect found in test vs. production, this thinking leads us to lots of costly quality problems in production.

  • Bob Bartlett says:

    Exactly! A better way to manage the commercial relationship is to relate some level of payment or penalty to live bugs found or live system down time.