In my last post, The A**hats of Testing, I went on a rant about archetypes of people in testing that get on my nerves. I had mixed feelings about putting that post out there. I was nervous as it was a rant. It didn’t bring much to the table except a list of frustrations.

I’ve been working on a follow up for a while now, and it took a bit for me to decide on the approach. But before I get to content to match the title of this post, I want to reflect on the A**hats.

About the A**hats

First off, if you look carefully at the list, it isn’t about Context Driven Testing. Yes, there a rather prominent member of that community who fits one or more of the archetypes, but I don’t see too many CDT folks fitting the Luddite archetype, as I defined it. Additionally, I don’t think we can point to one group and say, “that’s what’s wrong with testing.”

Second, I’ve been somewhat embarrassed by the post. Being such a rant and so accusing of others, I felt a lot of pressure to be conciliatory. So I started on this post from that perspective. . But I’ve reread the original a couple of times, and I stand by it, for the most part. It’s a little rough in places, but I really have worked with or encountered people who fit those archetypes. Probably most people reading the post will dwell on the Righteous Guru or The Sheep, but I’ve been pretty frustrated at times with The Luddite and the Coder-Snob.

Finally, there is a lot of public debate about CDT and the leaders in the CDT community. There are people out there who I believe are rightfully upset about the way they have been treated. I know individuals who have “left” testing to do development or other jobs because it wasn’t fun any more (I have no intention of debating if work should be fun). That sucks. No other way to put it. I also have seen people in posts and on twitter who identify as CDT, and don’t feel it is fair to cast all of CDT in the image of a few people who are the most visible.

So I will say it here: considering yourself a Context Driven Tester does not make you an A**hat. Your actions as a member of the testing community, not your beliefs, should determine what people think of you.

So Enough With the A**hats, and About Those Quality People…

For all the complaining in my previous post, and the recriminations on twitter and the aforementioned blog posts, there are good people out there in testing. And not just a few. Some have been around for a while now. Others are more recent additions. And some have “left” us (though I don’t accept their resignation, they can be programmers now, they are still testers to me).

So Jim Holmes (@aJimHolmes) sort of beat me to this when he posted this:

All the kerfuffle over the last few weeks made me think how I want to be viewed as a tester. Ergo my own credo.

I’ve been working on this for a bit. And similar to what Jim posted about himself, rather than archetypes, here is a list of traits of Quality People in testing:

  • Reasonable: Testers are a tricky bunch. We spend our days holding products, and people to exacting standards. It’s what we’re paid to do. But I think we’re at our best when we listen to and respect each other.
  • Passionate: The best testers care. They demonstrate that caring by being passionate about the product they work on. the team they work with, and the customer who will use the product. And they are passionate about testing.
  • Clever: Testers are a smart bunch. It takes a clever person to figure their way around the products we test. It takes a clever person to come up with new approaches to the process of testing; approaches that change the way people work.
  • Bridge Builders: Some of the best out there are looking at how to help testers work with others; whether that is in Agile, DevOps, or some other process. Bridge builders help others remember the value that can come from people who are good at finding problems.
  • Teachers: There are so many great teachers among testers. They might offer it in videos, classroom settings, podcasts, mentoring session, or just their blog. They take ideas and help others understand.
  • Open minded: They recognize that the world of software development is too big to know everything. So they want to learn from others to see what can be done, and what can be done better. And while they may be skeptical, they don’t start from an attack.
  • Sharing: It might sound a lot like being a teacher, but not everyone is comfortable stepping out in that role. Sometimes it is good enough to share experiences be it on twitter, or at a conference, local meetup, or at the water cooler. Sharing what you know, even in little ways, can help others grow as testers.
  • Independent Testers need to think for themselves. They certainly can and should be open minded and learn from others, but they also need to question what they are learning. Not everything applies everywhere. And while someone you respect may have some ideas that sound good, those ideas should be evaluated against your own experiences and beliefs before you act on or profess to them.

Wrapping Up

Notice, I’m still not naming names. I thought about it. It’s a lot easier to name people when you are highlighting positive things. But there are too many people who fit these various categories to name them. Additionally, after the last post, it felt a little bit like sucking up.

I’m not sure how well I stack up to my own list, or the list that Jim posted. At times I think I am not as open minded, or as skeptical as I should be. And sometimes I can be a bit of a sheep myself. So I have my own work to do.

The crazy part of my previous post is how I generally don’t rant like that in public. I generally don’t post flamebait or get into online arguments, as I’m not very good at it.