Shedding The False Burden of QA, Part One: Testers Always Have Enough Time

Good testing is hard.  It’s a deep intellectual endeavor that requires critical thinking, and among other things, time.  However, the good news for testers is, you always have enough time. Wait… does this sound contrary to reality? Where you think you found the issue, but there’s something deeper going on that you simply don’t have time to research?

Remember, a tester is a lighthouse.  What does a lighthouse do?  It casts light on the rocks, uncovering hidden risks to captains who then redirect the ship. It doesn’t prioritize them (product management), nor remove/fix them (development), but rather simply reports.

The job of a tester isn’t reporting all risks, it’s reporting all known risks that you discovered in the time allotted.  Not having enough time is a risk that may need to be on your report. Notice, I said “risks” not “bugs,” on purpose, since bugs are only one type of risk that may end up on that list.

Risk: anything that could threaten the on-time and successful completion of the project.

Warning, lest anyone think that I’m saying you can always claim you didn’t have enough time… The risk of “not enough time” is best conveyed in tandem with supporting information. Typically this is done as part of the testing report that discusses the quality of the testing, which among other things, includes what could not be tested.  Oops, is that a typo? Nope.

We do great at talking about what we did do, but not about what we didn’t do. The time isn’t yours, it’s the companies. That paycheck you just got purchased that time. It also purchased the company’s right to get a truthful report on the quality of the testing. Don’t feel the need to take ownership of that time; simply report on the risk gap and let the person(s) who matter make the call on how to proceed with the work.