Bad Software Testers

Bad Software Testers

Reading Time 5 minutes

Not all testers are the same, some are really bad software testers

By profession, I am a Software Tester, QA and Automation Engineer and I have meet some really bad ones.

With this said, what constitutes as a bad tester? The answer is a selection of poor traits and attitude.

This post is not meant to discourage or dishonour Testers. It is meant to highlight my experience with poor testers and how I approached the problem.

Bad Software Testers

In this post let’s look at some of the key traits which sadly defines what a bad Software Tester is and the solutions that I tried to implement.

The ‘Forgetful’ One

It’s common for a given person to forget things, that is normal. In a professional environment, forgetfulness is something that can not always be ignored.

In this instance the Tester will very commonly forget to make backups of test plans, test data, reports. They will also raise issues and bugs but not supply any steps to reproduce. When asked what the steps are, sometimes their response is that they don’t remember.

Their approach to reporting is usually very junior. This can leads to wasted time in investigations, spikes and other time sensitive aspects.

Fortunately this trait is common for Junior Testers and is remedied automatically overtime. The best approach here is to guide and train the Tester.

The ‘I Don’t Want To’ One

We have all encountered someone who possesses the mentality of saying ‘I don’t want to’, sadly this can be a common trait amongst all level of Testers.

Anyone who broadcasts this type of attitude usually differs any work given to them and are not strong team players.

This said, they also favor tasks which appear to be easy, straight forward or where someone else has done the leg work.

Resolving this can be challenging. The approach which I have seen to work best is to simple talk to the Tester and try to find out why they are not happy to pick up tasks.

Most of the time it is due to a lack of confidence, domain knowledge or a lack of willingness to work with people who seem very dominating. For me, talking has always helped to resolve this attitude.

The ‘I Did This, I Did That’ One

The ‘I did this, I did that’ trait belongs to someone who is more concerned with the work that they do and do not take the time to care or appreciate the effort that others are putting in. This particular trait makes it difficult to work with the Tester.

Testers with this view are usually found in Waterfall environments. This is because Waterfall promotes the idea of working in batches, in patches but not in sync.

To resolve this, I usually approach the Tester and try to understand why they appear to have strong feelings about what they and others did. Usually it comes down to their view on ‘what is fare’.

I try to resolve this by simply listing out the tasks that they and others have done however the focus here is not to compare. Instead I do this in hopes of trying to build a bridge and say that no one task can be sufficiently completed by only on person.

With time, this leads to a greater understanding of ‘US vs ME’.

The ‘My Way Or Highway’ One

It becomes very difficult to work with someone who is strongly passionate and adamant about their views and believes, especially when they are not open to ideas.

Sadly, this is usually found amongst the more senior members on a team. Through experience, senior Testers’s can sometimes ignore simple solutions and try to employ more difficult and complex ones.

Working with someone like this can almost always feel like a battle. It feels like a fight of diplomacy, ideas and sacrifice.

Passion plays a strong part in almost all discussions when speaking to someone who has very strong views. When trying to deal with someone like this, I try to convince ideas and thoughts for only some discussions and give into the many.

The idea here is to slowly win the confidence of the Senior Tester which in time becomes a strong relation. With some luck this leads to more comfortable discussions with an open mind form both parties.

The ‘Whatever’ One

There is always someone who is so relaxed and chilled that they do not care unless their salary is on the line.

Usually this means that the person does not take an active role in trying to resolve issues, take part in conversation or pro-actively investigate better solutions to existing problems.

They are very content with their current tasks and are more than happy to just coast along.

I have always found it to be a challenge when working with someone like this. My approach has been to try and give the Tester some small responsibilities. I have found that this helps to motivate the Tester to think about the problem and be more active in other roles.

The ‘Whatever’ attitude appears to disappear when the Tester’s see their contributions and efforts are valued.

The ‘I’m Not A Developer’ One

Having to look at code as a Tester is becoming more and more common however this becomes a problem when the Tester is just not happy about looking or reading code. The Tester in this instance is more than happy to get someone who is a little more intimate with coding to look at it instead.

This means the task takes longer and this could potentially hold up progress on other tasks.

I have found that pairing, training and teaching are the best tools to help someone get up to speed with coding.

Mo

I am a passionate tester, father, husband and gamer. I love to write blogs about Software Testing and generally contribute back to the Software Testing world.

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Mo

I am a passionate tester, father, husband and gamer. I love to write blogs about Software Testing and generally contribute back to the Software Testing world.

  • PossesstheWorld

    Ah software testing, part of the reason I am a blogger, drove me crazy

    • I completely can relate. It’s fun, interesting and challenging at the same time. Make sure to checkout some of my other posts.

  • Sarah Bean

    Ah yes, it’s hard to find someone to really work with you I agree

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yeah it can be. Personally, something I find interesting about this particular experience is that it only enhances my own views and thoughts. Therefore, this helps me to better conduct myself in similar situations in the future.

      Many thanks,

      Shahin

  • jayashree trao

    This is interesting…working with someone really needs patience or adjustment

    • Hi Jayashree,

      Many thanks for your comment. Part of the beauty and challenge of working in a team is the dynamics of the team itself. I did try to highlight the difficulties of that in this post, the best part is to try to implement a positive change and take it from there.

      Many thanks,

      Shahin

  • TheNash

    Great article, as usual 🙂

    I’d also add to the ‘I Don’t Want To’ can also apply to senior and technical testers. Specifically when they are given repetitive tasks such as system or regression testing. If they perceive that the task will not allow them to exercise the “more impressive” aspects of QA such as automation or creative exploratory style testing, then motivation can seriously tank.

    As a tech tester of 10 years, I see that in myself. I have to make a deliberate effort to stay motivated when I am asked to manually follow long test scripts with little opportunity to innovate. This probably sounds silly considering I started out as a manual tester for a few years and had no problem with it at all. But since I have gotten a taste for using tools and scripts to automate repetitive tasks, I find it very hard to mentally switch back to the manual grind when it is needed.

    I love my chosen QA career path, but I will admit I need guidance in areas like this

    • Hi TheNash,

      What an absolutely wonderful comment, many thanks.

      I can relate since I to also started my QA path as a Manual Tester. There were many challenges to face and overcome yet this is what made me stronger and I would hope smarter.

      Your spot on, the ‘I Don’t Want To’ can apply to a number of levels for a given profession. I have to admit that I have at times thought about it myself. Currently in the shoes of a Senior Technical QA Engineer, I have thought about tasks which simply do not fit my role anyway. This said, that was my root at one point.

      Being a QA for me personally helps me to fill my career with joy. It’s fun, exciting but above all crazy challenging.

      Many thanks,

      Shahin

      P.S. I would humbly request feedback from you on some of my other posts 😀