The Value Of Testers

As a junior software tester, just starting out, twenty-five years ago, I discovered that there was precious little information availble that told me about the different types of testing, how to plan, execute and measure progress, what good testing practice looked like, much less what went into a Test Plan or how to carry out Analysis.

Software testing as a profession was still a fairly new thing of which the value was still being worked out. Compaines knew that their software projects needed a test phase but everyone had a different idea what that should look like.

The pragmatic amongst them realised that it was better for a team of testers to find things wrong with the software than the end-users, but some saw it as a rubber stamp that needed to be applied and not an actual project phase. I recall one Project Manager, in the early nineties, slamming the desk and demanding to know ‘…where the hell 150 defets came from”, as though the test team had slipped a floppy disk in whilst no-one was looking and added the defects.

These days, thankfully, companies are very much on board with the value that a test team provides, and not just at the end of a project,  but right from the get-go when ideas are being formed and requirements being defined.

Who better to have in the room when you are designing a solution, than the very same devious mind that plans to pull it apart again in 6 months time?

A good test analyst or manager will be an asset right throughout a project. Those with longer histories will have usually worked across different disciplines, with varied systems and software, worked at different levels of testing in different phases of a project and will probably be able to turn their hand to a number of different skills that they have picked up along the way.

People who find their way into the world of testing generally have a very inquisitive mind and will have picked up allsorts of skills from one project to the next. Quite often the analytical mind of a tester can be put to all sorts of uses so Project Managers should take advantage of this and not think of test resource as just that.


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