Ninja skills of a tester.

Antti Niittyviita
Oct 3, 2017 · 2 min read
Design by Heidi Sarjanoja & Valokki Design

Overnight baked, fresh-from-the-oven software version is on your desk. A good tester does the job chipping through 100 cases today, maintaining a steady pace until the set is ready. That kind of a tester doesn’t talk much, nor ask inconvenient questions.

That’s a good tester. Or is it?

Of course, a skilled testing professional challenges the implementation of the product. Most of the time the tester, however, is not interested in proving that the product works. In reality, a professional is more interested in where the product still might break. Where would the next bug emerge?

But before that, a truly skilled testing professional already challenged the architecture of the product. The tester is interested in questions like how many users we expect on the first day of launch? What kind of load balancer is our service using? The professional is testing the product already in the first conversation with the architect and developers.

But even before that, a truly skilled testing guru already challenged the concept of the product. The tester is interested in questions like where the money comes from, and why? Who will be the first to buy this and how? The professional tests the product already in the first conversation with the product’s owner, or with the end user.


There is a risk, however. A tester eager to show off these skills is prone to trip terribly on the social construct of the team.

No one wants to work with an annoying smartass. The work is challenging enough as it is.

It has nothing to do with rationality. Despite the obvious benefits of someone testing the architecture or even the concept, the emotion steers. A real testing guru knows this and gets invited because it feels like a good idea.

The trinity is only possible to deploy in a team filled with masochists, or by the subtle art of stealth:

  1. Challenge the concept
  2. Challenge the architecture
  3. Challenge the implementation

A tester always starts at the bottom and then works to earn the way up the ladder. It will take time and practice, but it will happen.

A testing guru is someone who understands this ladder and knows that it needs to be worked again and again with every new team deploying our service.

Challenging the concept and the architecture are ninja skills of a tester. When used with wisdom, nobody even notices it happened. Everything simply seems to fall in its place naturally.

Antti Niittyviita

Written by

I believe that every organisation needs their of Champion of Testing. Someone, who truly steps up to take ownership of the testing culture.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade