Wednesday 6 July 2011


"Why didn't you find this bug?", "Why didn't you test that?" These questions can drive a tester to madness with worry, stress, fear, the sort of feelings that often get tagged as negative feelings, the ones to avoid. But feelings aren't negative or positive in themselves, is how you react to them.

As a dad, there are times when I worry for the safety of my children. Some of these worries can seem very real, and the worry quickly changes into a fear. Typically, this changes how I act or react as a father. I would hold on to my child a little more tightly. I would keep an eye on them a little bit longer. I would instruct them a little more clearly. All this is good, in fact, is in our genes. As parents, we want the best for our children, This includes their safety, as well as their education, security, etc. The trick, and it's a very hard trick to get right, is knowing where the parenting stops and the independent child is set free! That's something I will need to learn.

In software development, the worries and fears are altogether different to parenting, but worries and fears they still are. There is no excuse for a toxic working environment, where management in-still a blame culture. But even in healthy working environments, testers, including myself, can feel worried that, once the product is in Live, a bug will pop its ugly head when it could've been spotted during development. It's how we react to these thoughts that will indicate how we're going to survive as testers. Are we going to be down-and-out testers? Or live-for-another-day testers?

When you start your next test project, when preparing the test planning or attending the first project meeting, ask yourself "how do you want to feel the moment the software is put Live?" My response is "A modest confidence I did my best as a tester". From here, I would go and learn about the application, ask questions, be a team player, do my upmost to find important bugs quickly and communicate my findings to the project team.

My final point goes to those who don't ever feel worried: one day you might wake up… just saying…


  1. I am glad I am not the only one who get 'the horrors' as I call them. It tends to be at the 'long hours / short time to go live' point in a project where I dream about the application at night and cannot remember in the morning if I actually found a bug I dreamed about or it was just in the dream.

    I have actually woken up in the small hours and logged on because I have to know if something I dreamed about was a defect in the application or not. (It wasn't)

    You are so right comparing that dread to the feelings of worry you get about your children although I could never admit that to anyone but a dedicated tester as they would think comparing worrying about children and software was a mental thing to do!

    However, if we invest time, patience, intelligence and even love into something, it is only human to worry about it ... isn't it?

  2. Yes, we are only human after all.
    Thanks for the comment.