TestChat 1: The many ways testers and testing are misunderstood

by Amy Phillips

On July 28th 2016, 87 testers joined the first Ministry of Test #Testchat to discuss the many ways testers, and testing, are misunderstood. Our special guest was Alan Page, Microsoft employee, and speaker at TestBash Philly

Everyone agreed that testing is misunderstood. Maybe this is just because all jobs are misunderstood, as Alan stated, or maybe Neil Studd is right with his observation that testers “keep resorting to simple ways to explain it”. Whatever the cause we all agreed that being able to communicate what we do is the key to removing misunderstandings. 

Patrick Prill very succinctly said that “testers provide a service, so the recipients of the service need to be aware of what they expect or can expect from a tester to deliver”. 

There were many practical suggestions for helping people understand what service we provide. Explaining our role, demonstrating testing, and pairing were all frequently mentioned. Gabrielle told us that she directly states “I'm not against you, I'm on your side” to remove the us and them divide. Scarlett Anderson-Salewski had a great suggestion for testers struggling to articulate our services to “go to test meetups/conferences talk to other testers about what you do, build your confidence talking about testing and you'll be able to explain it in a way other can understand.”

Steven Knopf provided a neat summary of the entire conversation “always be open, always be willing to engage, practice talking about what you do, and seek feedback from the people you want to influence”.

You can read the entire conversation here.