Add Positivity Into Your Testing


(Heather) #1

I read a medium post recently that referenced something @friendlytester said at RTC:

It sparked a lot of ideas for me. This or a variation of this is something I see come up often

How do you stay positive testing when you feel like you’re mostly bringing bad news?

The author of the above post admits to being one of these people, struggling to find the positivity. Some answers to this may seem very obvious but when you’re in that negative headspace, it can be very difficult to see the good.

So my request for you: how would you advise people to bring positivity into their testing? I appreciate there is no one size fits all model but some suggestions for people to try would be an awesome start.


(Gem) #2

I really do like the idea that I’m a copy editor. I’m not telling devs bad news, I’m making them look good.

Other than that, it can get really hard. I find it really hard sometimes when I’m the one asking the hard questions and pointing out things that can go wrong, so I try and communicate with my team outside of those things so that’s not my entire work persona. I also make sure to compliment people on work well done.


(Alan) #3

I’m already a very positive person and I have always looked at bugs as opportunities to learn something new. Mistakes are incredibly valuable as a resource to teach others on things to avoid. Reframing is key here its easy to make a problem bigger than it is and its better to just reflect there will be more bugs in the future.


(Ady) #4

I’ve always felt it was part of my job to be a quality advocate so I’ve never really been negative in my feedback. I actually did a talk at Leeds Tester gathering about a situation back in 2005 where both testers and developers were measured on bugs recorded. Everything became an argument so I dropped ‘bugs’ and started talking about behaviour and whether it was desirable or not.

Changing the language helped a lot and now it’s habit for me to use expressions like;
Can I confirm my understanding?
This isn’t quite what I expected?
Perhaps we could try…
Could I suggest an alternative?
It may be simpler / easier if we

In all cases they are suggestions of ‘us’ to do something. I had a conversation this morning about bugs and my dislike with another tester and framed it like this. If the software is under development and therefore unfinished, how can you tell someone its wrong? If you see a building with the roof still to go on it’s unfinished. You wouldn’t say there’s a bug in the house would you?

Maybe not the best analogy but hopefully you get the idea.


(Brian) #5

One of the things that I try to do is give feedback about the good as well as the bad. For example, “I love the extra feature you added,” or “This does exactly what I want it to” (Without following with a “but…” then the positive loses its positivity).

I get better feedback when my feedback includes questions. For example, the questions in @adrian.stokes post. (I especially like “Can I confirm my understanding?”)

I learned these techniques from a psycologist who encouraged me to use coaching techniques in my every day activities. I mention positives to lift the mood in the conversation, so that the less positive points, “by the way, there’s a bug” are dulled. I ask questions to let the recipients of your feedback feel that you are interested in what they are doing.