Monday, April 26, 2010

Testers != Programmers?

Im trying to figure out the mindset of a subset of the class of 'programmer turned manager' who deny testers their rightful equal status alongside programmers.

Testers are still treated as second-class citizens. They get lesser pay, lesser time for their tasks, lesser resources, lesser appreciation, lesser recognition than their programmer colleagues.

Do they think that:

  • testing is an easy job
  • anyone can do testing
  • testing is not technical
  • no special skills are required for testing

Is this thinking a result of:

  • ignorance
  • insecurity
  • lack of continuous learning and improvement
  • lack of leadership skills

Its been a long time now since the testing industry has achieved a unique identity, a decade since the Agile Manifesto was published, yet people choose to live in the dark ages.

In most workplaces, team parties and dinners are a common feature. It is treated as a team-building activity and rightly so. Informal settings usually relax people, make them lose inhibitions thus forging closer bonds.

But what if such events are used to divide the team rather than unite them? Is that possible? Ofcourse it is.

*Organize a picnic and send the mail to the programmers of the team.

The testers will come to know about it anyways. They will feel left-out and 'not part of the gang'.

*Or on the eve of a release, when the entire team has slugged it out, take the programmers out for dinner, to appreciate their hard work!

Can you imagine how the tester feels then? Demoralized, unwanted.

Wondering if this behavior is intentional or is the manager just following the footsteps of his predecessors?

It wont be surprising if the programmers of such a team, treat testers in a similar manner when they become managers. Because this is the training that they have received and they are not interested in questioning it either.

Is there something that we, the testers can do about it? For one, we could atleast start voicing about this to the concerned people, in this case, the manager. That is what I shall do too!


  1. Hmmm... interesting post, but isn't it one sided? Maybe programmers really deserve higher pay! But they have to be blamed if there are a lot of bugs!

    But otherwise I agree with most of what you say....

    Srinivas C.

  2. @Srinivas
    Well, higher pay or not, Im more worried about the exclusion of testers in social events. The inequal treatment is what prompted me to write about it.

  3. Hi,
    Yes its true.This is because almost all top most mangement in companies have a wrong mind set that quality is the responsibility of the testing team.But according to me testing team are only just information providers about the quality and not real quality makers.They will provide the current quality level of a product and developers/programmers need to build/improve that qulity into the product.
    If developers enjoy the liberty of leaking the bugs during their development phases then why not testers can also enjoy that liberty of leaking the bugs/defects to the field.But normally any professional tester will not do that intentionally.If that post release defect happens unintentionally then testers are treated as accused. Especially this scenario happens in almost all companies where testers are directly linked/working with development team.


  4. Ram,

    Analyzing what's the problem here, it looks as team (so known as developers and testers) are not in same wavelenth of understanding. Understanding of what? Probably we should learn each others tasks and responsibilities and respect it with uniform attitude. It is our problem that gives new problem to us again. As people or team we need to understand why we all are here.

    Exchange of words across each others will not help in successful run. Helping each other may probably help.

    You said testing team are just information providers. Do not forget we also are information needers. Ask yourself what information you need and how to find them. It also matters how information was provided from you. If information was provided, still why that gap exist in knowing each other? If information provided is used only for business purpose to meet any agreed responsibilities or for self defence or team defence, problem arises.

    Quality is in all our job. The informtaion provided will have its own quality that can make impact and build or break the credibility for team. Probably "ownership of the quality for product" is not with us and may be with decisiion makers or management.

    Why not try to learn along with managers or team, what each of us do and the credibility that we have gained? If nothing is gained or learned from each other, time to introspect with self and team. Let us stop blaming and flaming and start learning about each others for why we are here. Prevention is better than cure.