How Testers Are Both The Hero And The Villain

What do you do when you’re job is to break things.

To find the weakness in something and then point them out.

To push back on work that others believe is finished.

To be the voice for the customer, an evangelist.To be a skeptic and highly critical, never being brain washed by the hype. Being a tester means that you have to weigh both sides.

If being in software development was a movie role than sometimes it would feels like testers are both the hero and the villain.

Hero – a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

How Testers Are The Hero

1. You discover problems that others have missed.

When your a tester you help others find problems, so that they can be fixed. Problems (bugs) come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They worst type is the unknown. By discovering the unknown testers bring value.

2. You’re the gatekeeper of software integrity.

3. You’re always learning.

This is the testers super power. The ability to learn. As a tester there is always something to learn. That act of finding bugs is learning. You’re learning how the system works under specific conditions. Even if you’ve learn that the system sucks.

4. You’re promoting quality.

Not everyone sees the importance of quality. Under the pressure of looming deadline quality can take a back seat. Testers come to the rescue though by supporting quality in all its forms.

5. You’re verifying requirements.

If anyone ask ‘How do we know that this thing works?’, look to the Tester they’ll let you know.

6. You’re the defender of everything that’s good in the product.

7. You’re communicating risk to others on the team.

8. You’re creating automation that saves the teams time.

Bugs travel in swarms. Most bugs are introduced when the system is changed. Automation helps you find bugs caused by changing because of regression.

9. You’re the companies internal voice of the customer.

When your deep in the building process (like everyone on the development team), it can be harder to see the big picture. Part of a testers job is to see things from a customers point of view. This allows you to test the application better.

10. You’re creative.

Creativity is the name of the game for use testers. Even if your just explaining how to test a toaster. Creativity gives you the ability to come up with many different testing scenarios.

11. You’re a software bugs worst nightmare.

Villain – the person or thing responsible for specified trouble, harm, or damage.

How Testers Are The Villain

1. You’re skeptical of everything that’s delivered to you.

Nothing is perfect, and you’ve seen enough ‘perfect’ systems to prove it.

2. You’re pointing out the weaknesses of the application.

You application is only as good as it’s weakest lines of code. By pointing them out you’re making the system stronger. If someones code sucks let them know (be nice).

3. You’re pushing back on release dates if the product isn’t ready.

Even if business wants to strangle your neck ever time you bring up the idea of push back a release if you feel it’s right.

4. You’re questioning assumptions that others have made.

A great tester must always question assumptions. Even those of ‘genius’ software developers.

5. You’re obsessed with product quality.

You put quality of the product over all others.

6. You’re never ‘done’ testing.

You always feel like you could have done more, and you always try to squeeze in more test. Even if the codes in production you still want to test.

7. You’re taking responsibility for missed bugs even though most are out of your control.

Major bugs found in production can feel like a dagger in the heart. Even more so when it’s an area of the application you where focusing on testing.

8. You’re lack of respect from other positions can eat at you. Even turn you bitter.

Why is there so much QA hate? It’s a issue that I’m still trying to figure out. Testers need a little more respect.

9. You’re creativity is a double edged sword.

The problem is that your mind is always racing. Some testers can have squirrel like tendencies.

10. You’re lazy you want to automate all the boring testing (aka checks).  So that you’re skills can be used to greater effect.

Automate EVERYTHING!! Well as much as you can. This frees up time for you to do more interesting testing scenarios.

11. You’re a software bugs worst nightmare.


Like most things in life this isn’t a black or white issue. The best testers live in the grey.

They combine traits from both the hero and the villain to become something greater. An outlaw, vigilante, or anti-hero.  They do what needed to guarantee that the products meets the needs of the customer. Testers are both the hero and the villain because in the end it’s all about perspective.

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