A project is like a road trip. Some projects are simple and routine, like driving to the store in broad daylight. But most projects worth doing are more like driving a truck off-road, in the mountains, at night. Those projects need headlights. As a tester you light the way. You illuminate the road ahead so the programmers and project managers, however they bicker the map, can at least see where they are, what they're about to run over, and how close they are tp the cliff. The detailed mission of the testing varies from company to company. Behind those details, though, is a common factor. Testing is done to find information. Critical decisions about the project or the product are made on the basis of the information.
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Source: Lessons learned in software testing