Dave Henry, Application Development Practice Manager
As a software developer, I’ll be the first to admit that my testing skills are mediocre at best. I develop good software but when I test, I tend to only test the “happy path”. Maybe that’s because I have brought a software application to life, the last thing I want to do is break it. Quite a long time ago, the concept of Quality Assurance came about. Some companies have embraced it and some companies feel it is something they can do without. For enterprise level applications, I would recommend embracing it.
It is a software testers’ job to first test that the application does what it is supposed to do according to the requirements/functional specifications – “happy path”. Once that passes, the dreaded negative testing begins. This is where a tester can get creative. Things like, “I put the values ‘!@#$%’ in the zip code field and your application crashed”. Of course my response is “Why would anyone do that”. Testers reply, “Because they can”. “Fine, I’ll fix it”, grrrrrrr.
The place I am currently consulting at uses a commercial software application for tracking bugs. I have grown to dislike this bug tracking software for the wrong reasons. It is actually a quite simple application that does its job well. A tester enters a bug title, description and status (there is other stuff but you get the idea). Then they assign it to me and an automated e-mail shows up in my inbox– this message is never good news. Now what did they find? This negative testing keeps pulling me away from my next project. I roll my eyes at the QA person as I pass her in the hall. She gives me the look that says “Sorry but I’m just doing my job”. We don’t exchange words.
Meanwhile on the other side of things, the Project Manager is sending the tester e-mails every hour checking on the status and practically looking over their shoulder as the deadline to move into production is looming.
For the reasons I stated above, I suspect that the software tester is not the most popular person in the office on certain days. They are, however, an integral part of the software development process. So the next time you feel like barking at someone in QA, give them a break, their job is not easy and they are under a lot of pressure to release quality applications.