Last week, I started reading a book called “Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach”. It gives lessons in each chapter that I think will help any software tester in their testing journey. Chapter 1 is called “The Role of the Tester” and it addresses what testers are supposed to do for a project.


Lesson 1: You are the headlights of the Project

  • Some projects are easy and simple, like driving during the day, but most projects are tough, and it may be more like driving a truck, off road, at night. This paints a pretty good picture about how different projects can be. As the tester, the book mentioned that you light the way, almost like a light shining on the road ahead so that the team can see where they are, what is ahead and how close they are driving to the edge. Testing is done to find information, and critical decisions get made from that information. SO remember, you are the light 🙂 


Lesson 2: Your mission drives everything you do

  • Find out what is expected to you and have a clear mission

    Some examples may be to:

  • Find important bugs fast
  • Provide a general assessment of the quality of the product
  • Make sure that the product meets a certain standard
  • Improve product quality
  • Follow a certain set of methods or rules
  • Help your clients improve their processes
  • Do whatever is necessary to satisfy particular clients
  • Etc.


Lesson 3: You serve many clients

  • Testing is a service role and you need to remember that the service you provide is very important.


Lesson 4: You discover things that will “bug” someone whose opinion matters

  • As a tester, it is your duty to report your concerns, if the client does not listen, it is their choice.


Lesson 5: Find important bugs fast

  • Test things that have been changed first
  • Test core functions first
  • Test capability before reliability
  • Test common situations before testing situations unlikely situations
  • Know the product you are testing and also know the people who are going to be using it


Lesson 6: Run with the programmers

  • Support the programmers and give them feedback as soon as possible


Lesson 7: Question everything, but not necessarily out loud

  • To test well, you need to question
  • If you find yourself testing and you have no questions, take a break


Lesson 8: You focus on failure, so your clients can focus on success

  • Testing is the only role that does not directly focus on success (it can be seen as negative)
  • Testers focus on failure because it improves their chances of finding it. Look for key problems in the product with all your creativity and skill. If you don’t find them, they can’t be fixed, and then the users may find them for you. By finding what’s there to find in the product, you help the project team learn more about their own skills and the product’s risks, and you help them make the product better, more supportable, and probably more successful in the marketplace.”Chapter 1 of “Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach”


Lesson 9: You will not find all the bugs

  • It is not possible to find every bug


Lesson 10: Beware of testing completely

  • “Complete” testing can mean many things (make sure you clarify what “complete” or “done” means)


Lesson 11: You don’t assure quality by testing

  • Testers don’t break the product; it was already broken. Quality comes from the people who created the product, but that is a heavy burden to bear so we help deal with the burden more effectively (it is a team effort)


Lesson 12: Never be the gatekeeper

  • Don’t be completely in control of the release (when testers control the release, they also must bear the full responsibility for the quality of the product)


Lesson 13: Beware of the not-my-job theory of testing

  • Do not adopt this philosophy
  • Also, find out what is expected of you


Lesson 14: Beware of becoming a process improvement group

  • You can work on improving the process as a team, but be careful not to criticise


Lesson 15: Don’t expect anyone to understand testing, or what you need to do it well

  • Remember that it’s up to you to tell your clients what you need and explain testing to them