Find a testing smiley and put it in your desk!

600px-Smiley

There’s a weird believe that we Testers need to be pessimistic in order to be good / professional / successful.

In a course I impart (where I am required to use slides made by a colleague) there is even a bullet saying that good testers require “professional pessimism” as one of our main traits.

I apologize to the person who came up with this notion, but what a bunch of crap!
Most of the greatest testers I know are Fearless Optimists, and I think this is actually one of the trait that makes them exceptional testers.

Testers need to be optimistic in order to be able to find a huge showstopper bug and instead of saying “This is it, this App is Busted!” and turn to another task, continue our testing task with even more strength to find additional issues that require fixing and make sure the App is released correctly.

A person needs to be first of all an optimist in order to be a dreamer, and only a dreamer can sit with a design document or a screen sketch and come up with user profiles and scenarios that will allow her to test the AUT realistically.

And maybe most importantly, only an optimist can come to work each day to find bugs and look for flaws in the work of others, and do this convinced that he is doing it for the greater good of his team, his friends, and his company.

So next time you hear someone saying that you need to be a pessimist in order to be a (good) tester do all of us a favor and correct this person, and remember to do it with a smile on your face :)

  • http://www.sqablogs.com/jstrazzere/ Joe Strazzere

    While I completely agree with the sentiment about “come to work each day to find bugs and look for flaws in the work of others, and do this convinced that he is doing it for the greater good of his team, his friends, and his company”, I disagree that “only an optimist” can do this.

    Few folks would call me an optimist, yet believing in “the greater good of his team, his friends, and his company” is what brings me here every day.

    http://www.sqablogs.com/jstrazzere/1819/Optimistic+Developers%2C+Pessimistic+Testers.html

  • Sandi Oliphant

    To test round after round of the same steps, input and output, without punching someone, requires an optomist. Someone who believes this time it will work. Someone who knows that we can do anything the users want with this application. The testers job is to find everything that works as the user wanted and to help the designer/analyst find any little thing that might have been overlooked before the user can make it a BIG thing. All application breaks belong on the testing room floor.

    Difference between optomist tester and pessimist tester – the first one comes to work believing today is the day everything will work and the other comes to work knowing today everything will be broken. Which would you rather be? Optomist for me.

  • http://www.sqablogs.com/jstrazzere/ Joe Strazzere

    “Difference between optomist tester and pessimist tester – the first one comes to work believing today is the day everything will work ”

    Hmm, that worries me a bit.

    We usually find what we are seeking. Thus, if you are expecting everything to work, it often does. If you are expecting things to break, they usually do.

    Wouldn’t you want the people charged with finding the breakages to expect to find them?

  • http://www.practitest.com Joel Montvelisky

    Joe, I will agree with you that you don’t need to be a DUMB-&-EVEN-IF-THE-SKY-IS-FALLING-I-WILL-CONTINUE-SMILING kind of tester, that is not an optimist but someone who needs to check his sense of reality.
    Having said that, I do believe there are pessimistic testers that even when they don’t find anything majorly wrong in their AUT they will take the small an insignificant stuff (that they should report but keep under proportion!) and make a storm out of a cup of tea.

    I am sure you are not one of those, and the greater good you talk about also helps you to step forward after testing a well written app and say out loud that the dev team did a Superb Job!

    Trying to agree with Sandi I will add a small addendum saying that a good optimistic tester can have a believe that an application will work out fine by the end of the day, but when she puts her “testing globes” she look for bugs in the places where she would expect to find them.

    I differentiate between my personal optimism and my testing professionalism.

  • http://www.sixt.co.me Rent a car Montenegro

    I don't think either is that important for testing. You need someone with high perception and somebody who will try to explore every bit of thing he is testing, rather someone who will expect everything to work, or expect everything to break. Don't know, just my 2 cents

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  • http://www.illusionmages.net illusion Mage

    Yes, If I hear someone saying that I need to be a pessimist in
    order to be a (good) tester and I will do it with a smile on my face.

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