[Lesson] 3 - testing is a service that serves many clients
Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:26 pm
Testing is a service role. Feel good about that. The service you provide is vital. Service implies clients - people you serve. Your success is measured primarily in how well you serve client's desires and interests. That might not be so hard, except that testing has many clients.
They all have own needs, and their collective don't necessary align:
* The project manager. Project managers are entitled to know your process and influence it. You serve the project manager by reporting your status on demand, reporting important problems fast, and not being a bottleneck to the project.
* The programmer. You make the programmer's job easier by providing good bug reports, asap. Strive to know your craft and know the product so you don't waste the programmer's time with mistaken or frivolous reports. If you can do that, you'll have a lot more credibility and that will translate into support and influence.
* The technical writer. Like you, the people who write the manuals the online help get incomplete information about the product. You can help them how the product really works, and you can alert them errors into documentation. Writers can help you, too. As they do their research on the product and how the people who have to read the documentation will use the product, they will learn things that you don't know. If you have good relationship with the writers, they'll alert you to new features, new uses, holes in you test plan and to the bugs they find. Some of the bugs would never be reported unless a particular writer knows that a particular tester cares.
* Technical support. Whatever problems are left in the product become a burden for the people who provide technical support. You serve the support group by alerting them to aspects of the product that may trouble the user. If you work with them during development, sometimes the support staff will help you make the case that a bug should be fixed. You should also offer to help investigate difficult problems found in the field. Doing so will bring you into close contact with support people, and therefore, with the customer.
* Marketing. Marketing needs to know whether anything in the product is inconsistent with the key benefits the product is supposed to provide to customers. A bug that seems minor to programmers might be critical to marketers. They might recognize that the bug makes it harder for the customer to do an important task. Also, by reviewing planned marketing documents or statements, you can help marketing promote an accurate account of the product's capabilities.
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Source: Lessons learned in software testing