How often do you remind people of the value of testing?

How often do you remind people of the value of testing?

How do you demonstrate value?

How do you resonate with your audience?

I’m always curious to know how we show and not tell folks the benefits of testing.

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There was a time when I had to do this and fight for more testing, but, lately, I’ve become pickier about projects I work on, and all recent teams I’ve been on have a lot of maturities when it comes to understanding the value of testing - and they are all contributing.

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To me the best way to get to a point where you do not have to prove this is to be valuable. And to be valuable you have to understand a fundamental aspect of testing. There is no situation where you HAVE to test anything. Testing is an activity designed to save money (or protect life) and if there is no money to save, or if the cost of testing is higher than the potential saving it is wrong to test more. So to be valuable you have to understand the business and what value you bring to the table.
In my experience there are commonly two scenarios where I find testers struggling with having to defend their work. One is when testers do the wrong thing, i.e. cost more than it is worth. This is not super common, but myself and most testers I have worked with have at one time or another done this. The second scenario is that testers fail to explain the business of testing, in the terms that the stakeholder (typically the person with the budget) can understand.
Ideally you want to tailor this pitch to the specific business or situation at hand but the business case is something like this. A company invests X amount of money to get the potential to make Y amount of revenue. Mistakes when making the product / service will reduce Y with a certain amount. Testers can help show what that is and allow for the investor to make a decision, do I want to invest more money into the product to avoid that loss. The economics of testing is very similar to that of insurance.
You have to be very sensitive to the fact that the case for testing varies a lot with the product you are working with. For emerging markets and products the budget for testing is very limited, because the opportunity cost of testing is too high and for very mature markets the budget is limited as well since the profit margin is low.

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Never.

My biggest “reminding” I need to do is that when releases slip their deadlines and when teams fail to communicate, that our ability to quickly fix issues is negatively impacted.

Second biggest “reminding” is that we need to stay ‘secure-by-design’. And be sure to build security into requirements, and this always causes people to think about testing for me without having to hint at it.

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At 4PM on the last Friday of every sprint, you can post a major bug which was discovered earlier. It gives people the whole weekend and Monday morning to think about the value of testing. Just kidding! One is probably at the wrong place if one has to remind people about the value of testing in 2022.

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Every time some piece of ill thought out technology gets in the way when I’m shopping and the assistant apologises, I tell them it’s perfectly OK; I’m a software tester and expect nothing to work properly. Instant rapport!

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I have been known to write to Corporate in such cases to ask “Did anyone actually test this? With human beings?”

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Context is a thing in these questions;

How often do you remind people of the value of testing?

If I’m talking to my wife, well… its the most important job in the world. The company I work for would literally fall apart or lose money hand over fist if it was not done to a high degree.

If I feel I have to remind the people I work with the value of testing… well, maybe its time I moved on to a company that already understands this.

How do you demonstrate value?

I’m with @ola.sundin here - I shouldn’t have to prove myself or my skills on a regular basis just to demonstrate how valuable the work I do is. Maybe if I’m new to the job and need to perform, but doing this builds the trust, and people around you will understand your value through your actions.

Demonstrating value to my wife is another matter however.

How do you resonate with your audience?

By being factual, assertive and possibly even manipulative - it really depends on the message you want to get across, and the audience. For example if I wanted to convince a Business Analyst that a button needed changing, my message would revolve around risk and cost. If I wanted to convince a developer of the same thing, my message would revolve around how the button functions (or doesn’t function) as expected.

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Golden.
Pure gold, I’m stealing that one Jon.

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I started out as a Customer Support Representative and I’ve moved into the QA Lead role gradually, so for a few years I was leading both teams. This gave me a distinct perspective on the meaning and value of quality.

Our product is designed to help users automate manual processes, thus saving them time and money. If my testers find a regression that would slow users down and interfere with their daily work routines, I tell as many people as I can about it. I don’t always use the following wording, but here is an example of what I can share:

“This morning, manual testing revealed a regression that prevented users from completing (fill in the blank). If this had been released to production, Support would likely have been flooded with calls and emails, and an immediate patch would most likely have been necessary. Kudos to (tester name) who discovered the issue, for contributing to our 99 - 100% user retention rate!”

Or if the issue was discovered with an automation tool, I’ll use that opportunity to publicize the fact and praise the automation team for the catch.

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There is a difference between having to remind people of the value of testing and ensuring that they have no excuse to forget. I think a good leader never stops promoting the value of what their team is doing, because it keeps it in the front of people’s minds and it becomes a recognized part of the company’s story.

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I usually remind them when I see an opportunity to promote the need for testing or if customers and important stakeholders are involved in the said business requirement. I pitch in the customers’ frustrations and explain why it matters in the grand scheme of things because let’s face it, teams will not care about testing until significant consequences directly affect the brand, and the team’s bonuses/salaries, especially when it’s about the KPIs.

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What do KPI’s that measure quality look like for you Julius? I’m seeing at least 2 kinds of quality work (security and UX for example) going on and no way of measuring which is greater.

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The experience mentioned previously was from my previous employer. The context of KPIs in my comment is more of an individual KPIs that affect monetary benefits. For example, if you got 90% on your individual KPI evaluated by your manager, you get 90% of a certain amount as a monetary bonus. It directly affects everyone’s morale if a feature’s bug slipped to production, thus they won’t care until it hits them.

If we’re talking about QA KPIs, the criteria is how many valid test cases have been automated (meaning the test case is worthy of adding it to automation test, and not just on a whim automation), how many production bugs slipped from QA during the time of testing (requirements considered - the lower, the better), and how timely user stories have been delivered to production and avoiding delays due to testing.

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Mine too. I’m a fan of team and personal KPI’s and looking back but also using them as context sensitive key goals for individuals, but also for the whole team.
Some people hate the KPI, no matter what other acronym you give it, but having them helps me focus better at any rate.

But having ranked priorities for goals is so critical, had too many managers that want the entire thing delivered and all parts must be at the same quality. That is a pipe dream if you don’t get tooling and support as well as process changes to make that happen.

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So true!

I have had similar experience - but when we bought our car last year, I asked them what does this button actually do when you keep the button pressed (it was the “back door open”-button). The answer was “nothing”. So what I did was press it once - the back door opens automatically, as expected.
Then I pressed and kept the button pressed again and for the suprise of the car dealers the back door automatically closed by itself. :exploding_head: Then the dealers got their technical people to look at this and they were surprised, because actually that “feature” should not be on the car yet. I was just laughing and asked them if they never tested those buttons? Then the technical lead (by the way, it was SEAT) of that car dealer came and he has never seen that function working with my car model.
Their explanation was: “must be a software update” - then I asked, was there one? They denied…
Then I told I do “test software stuff” as a profession…
:smiley:

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