Sunday, September 13, 2009

Testers are bitching - 5 simple fixes for 5 common complaints

Testers are bitching - 5 simple fixes for 5 common complaints

Here are a couple of solutions/processes that can be put in place to stop some common complaints you might hear from testing!

Common Complaints from Test:

1. Problem - Tester says: What the f*!k? When did this get checked in? Why didn't anyone tell me? I don't know what is getting checked in?

Solution: EVERY CHECK IN MUST HAVE A BUG ASSOCIATED WITH IT. Any organization that does not have this requirement, sucks. Yes it is a little more work... but ask yourselves this... is there a checkin that is safe enough not to be tested. If it is alot more work... then there are serious problems...

2. Problem - Tester says: When did this feature appear?

Solution: Stop feature creep. Commit to a feature set for the release. If a new feature needs to be added because of feedback from beta testing, then testers need to be in the loop from the beginning(Testing should provide workarounds/risks/test estimates). But if features are being checked in, and are not related to anything else that is being done... it should be not allowed in. Remember Testing is already overwhelmed trying to ship the current product, they don't have time to entertain a new feature and bring it to stability. There is always next release to add the new feature.

3. Problem - Tester says: I only have time for surface testing

Solution: QA estimates need to be part of the release plan. If you are doing agile or waterfall, you have to have QA estimates for all features. If testers are saying they do not have enough time, there could be several reasons, but one place to start is to see if they were involved in the release plan.... Did Testers sign off on the release plan dates? If not, then... no wonder your product slips frequently OR lots of bugs are found by customers!

4. Problem - Tester says: We have no voice

Solution: QA Feature Progress Reports/Sign Off Sheet. This is really bad to hear... it can mean many things a)means testers are not informed of decisions being made, they are out of the loop. b) Or the testers do not feel like their profession opinion matters, or acknowledged or have an avenue to bring up concerns. c) OR testing is not providing information that is measurable (example they only provide gut feelings)

BIGGEST VOICE for Testers are providing Numbers!
Testing should be providing more then just gut feelings. They should provide a list of features and what they think the status of the feature is. This includes, incoming weekly bug rate, weekly fixed bug rate, list of areas still need to be tested, number of bugs still left to regress, number of bugs regressed. How the current week relates to the previous weeks.

Once testers provide numbers, everyone listens. :)

5. Problem: Tester says: I feel like I am out of the loop

Solution: Assign Feature Ownership. Sometimes testers are not in the loop because people do not know who they should inform on the Test side. Testers must be assigned features which they will be responsible for the feature from the beginning to the end. If there is more then 1 tester, and you have not divided up the areas of ownership, then it is total chaos. Developers have no idea who to talk to when there are code changes. Testers are only testing on a per bug basis, they are not seeing the feature as a whole. Overall quality sucks. No one is responsible for shipping a crappy feature. A feature never gets the full attention it needs. Only person that is in the loop might be the qa manager instead of the tester actually testing.

There are soo many benefits by assigning Features that its a whole blog in itself.


  1. Tester's work is not to stop development, but to support it.

  2. Sorry... I am not sure where you got the idea that i was promoting testers to stop development? I believe a Testers goal is to 'ship' high quality products on time.

  3. Hi, Lana.

    Welcome to the community of testers, who believe that 'Testing should provide information to the Project keyholders', and not 'Testers goal is to 'ship' high quality products on time' :)

    From this point of view, tester did not sign off on the release plan dates. They just serve the project, not guide them.

  4. Hi,

    I love this...too bad no one will listen. There needs to be buy in from management. If they don't see a need then it won't happen. I've been in QA for 15+ years and my senior management on this latest stint is totally out of touch.

    So tired of complaining:)