Hiring problems emerging from not knowing what a tester’s responsibilities are.

  • Does it matter to you as a hiring manager to know and share what are a tester’s responsibilities?
  • Does this knowing shape what a tester does in the role of a tester?
  • Does this knowing shape the future of testers and testing?
  • What gets communicated as a tester’s responsibilities does affect what a newbie /clueless tester does at his / her first job. It takes a rebel or an educated tester to question the norms.
  • How often do we witness and / or encourage a tester who questions the norms, professionally?
  • How often are the testers educated in software testing, prior to joining an organization as a tester? Is the syllabus for software testing formed with the consensus from any of the active software testing practitioners?
  • Are we equipped to encourage newness / questions that come our way when we make a hiring (accept / reject) decision? How often do you sum up your energy to ask for the reject reason?
  • Does it matter to you to know that you hired right?

An attempt to share a tester’s responsibility (actual versus the expected) is made here. 
 A lot of this learning comes from the notes, articles, books I have read, being present at the test-opsy session conducted at StarEAST[2016] by James and Jon Bach and Michael Bolton. And by witnessing tasks I carried out in the role of a tester. In itself, this work is incomplete and there is scope for improvement as I see that contributing to building testing community, one own’s credibility is also part of a tester’s responsibility. 
 Some of the questions that helped me frame the map are below:

  • What does a tester do?
  • How do I define a tester?
  • What kind of responsibilities suit this tester versus that tester? (Automation / CodeJunkie / Script Kiddie / ET)
  • What else does a tester do?
  • What matters? What doesn’t matter?
  • How can I help? Who can I seek help from?
  • Does this process versus that matter? What matters to the organization may not matter to a commoner / a user.
  • How to communicate the good and the bad news about the product’s quality?
  • Is the information shared useful? useful to the relevant?

(Click on each of these images below, to view their enlarged version).

A typical CV would contain keywords such as the above for an automation test engineer and a traditional test engineer. But is that all a tester does?

A tester does more than document tests, prepare the tool to perform the tests and as part of performing testing, a tester also needs to learn, perform, be and become a tester eventually. See below for some of the other skills a tester needs to be educated in and be equipped with.

Process is for the program / project to run smoothly. Do not discard a tester / CV / resume because it lacks domain / process knowledge / information in it. How we design, program, test, build should reflect in the quality of the product that a user operates.

What matters to the business and the user is important. But what matters to a tester is equally important. If you are learning, you are growing.

Does this help you to shape better questions to ask when you meet a tester to hire him/her? 
Does this make you rethink how / whom to hire? Am I asking the right and relevant questions to a tester who’s being interviewed?
Add your comments below, how would you define a tester’s responsibility differently when you share what a tester’s responsibilities are. 
Do this exercise with your testers (already hired). 
Exercise — What tasks a tester is bound to do when they explore the requirements or perform a product walk-through? And take notes.
If there are no questions at the end of this exercise, then the client is not going to be happy with the testers hired. Hire better. Design the tests to test the tester better. Learn a way to solve hiring problems. 
End of it — Share your honest feedback of the candidate interviewed, and it’s important to do it.

Originally published at chroniclesoftesting.blogspot.com on July 16, 2017.