How do you give developers the confidence to carry out testing activities?

Ben Dowen (@fullsnacktester) made a good point last week. He talked about how testing/quality professionals can give confidence to those who aren’t testers.

There’s an opportunity to help developers learn fundamental testing principles beyond what they already know. Is there a developer you could pair with this week to run through a testing session? How might you demonstrate what you do so they could give it a go? We can help spread the testing effort across the team.

I’m curious to know, what have you tried so far to help developers gain confidence in their testing capabilities?

There are lots of helpful community contributions about pairing on the MoT Platform to help you get started.


Here’s a thought.

Is the aim here to spread the testing across a team, or to try and improve the quality before it comes to the testing phase?

What is the objective of the programmers doing the testing?

The way I would encourage to try and influence them is through pair sessions prior to handover to test - i.e. freestyling (with a plan/purpose) some tests to ensure that it is fundamentally working before handover to “test”. If anything doesn’t work then they can see clearly and ask why (It’s amazing how often we see changes just fundamentally not do what they are supposed to do)


I believe that people don’t do something for three reasons:

  • they don’t understand why (the value)
  • they lack the knowledge (how to do)
  • they are afraid to fail and be blamed

If people don’t understand the value of testing, I can explain from both the processes perspective (less wait => less waste) and from the pride perspective (you are usually more proud to do good stuff).

If people lack the knowledge, I or my fellow QA engineers can teach and share the experience.

If people are afraid to be blamed for failure, I inspect the culture: maybe the company has a strong blame culture and it needs changing generally. If the culture is ok, and it’s just that certain developers never tried doing that, I or QA engineers can pair and lead.

For starters, you can record a few testing sessions where you and other tester participate, using some product/feature that the developer knows well, then do a testopsy.

This can trigger conversations over the exploration decisions, test data, procedures, note-taking, reporting, etc. In summary, about how testing is done.

And since the debate happens over a static entity (the recording), there is a narrower space, making it easier to focus.

Not sure that I understand the question. I didn’t see the original stuff, my apologies. Are we saying that full-time developers should be taking on more testing skills? Or helping support testing? Or doing testing gruntwork like filling out check code?

There’s testing, the expert, skilled practice of exploring and learning a product, and there’s testing, the filling out cases and writing checks and giving the product a general look for problems. I assume testing to mean the former.

I can say how I work better with developers, or I can say how I get support from developers or I can comment on the divide between two full-time expert jobs.

Edit: I wrote about 2000 words but I don’t know which of them to paste in here.

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Hi @kinofrost,

I would like to hear more about this.