If testers start looking at developers as vital resource of information, there is a lot better testing that can happen over that place. Rapid Software Testing says, "As a tester be a service and not an obstacle to the project" and isn't that amazing? One dimension to being an obstacle to the project is about having a bad relationship with developers.
It is not just a tester-developer relationship that goes bad in an organization. Speaking from my experience, a developer-developer relationship has gone bad and a tester-tester relationship is no exception but the highlight of all is tester-developer. I infer from the results of a bad, developer-tester relationship that the resultant was more expensive than a developer-developer or tester-tester relationship going bad.
The ownership problem
It appears to me that if you ask a developer and a tester, a question of who contributed to the relationship going bad, a testers finger would point at the developer and the developer would be a victim of Newton's 3rd law. It is a rare occasion that a tester or a developer would point his finger at himself. Sometimes, the developer or a tester is not aware that management is also a reason behind it.
In India, I have heard so many stories of management being a major contributing factor to the developer-tester relationship going bad. I must admit that there are certain companies in India who encourage a tester developer relationship but I am not sure where they are.
Fear of university
I am happy of having done this detail research in which I explored the mindset of a tester when he works for a developer from a better university than where he graduated from. In India IIT and IISC are considered to be the most fundoo universities. Start ups, usually hire fresh graduates from IIT and IISC for development and conduct a walk in for testers and pay them 1/10 th of what an IIT Developer is paid. Some testers start feeling inferior and their confidence at the start of the career goes down. They turn out to look for development jobs.
Here is an interesting story: In one of the company I worked for, I was one tester for 3 developers who were from IIT and IISC. They welcomed me with a look as if , "Is this guy going to find bugs in my code? ha" and it took me little time to understand that they too were humans who could make mistakes. After a couple of months, the three developers from top universities called me, "Crash specialist" and I enjoyed a good relationship with them. There was another tester on a similar project in the same company working for 3 developers from premier organizations I mentioned. That tester always exhibited discomfort working with those three as he kept feeling inferior. He quit the company as he could not live with inferiority complex for a long time.
Now, I know the secret of killing inferiority complex when it is caused by someone who claims to be the best programmer on earth. As you are my blog reader, I want to share the secret with you but keep it within yourself. The secret is ...FIND BUGS IN HIS CODE!
Self assumed slave!
I am not sure why such an assumption enters a testers mind but I have seen some of my co-workers running to a developers seat when a developer calls the tester over his extension and say, "Can you come to my seat?". A self assumed slave tester runs towards a developers cubicle dropping the test he was doing and also without asking the reason for the developer calling him.
Here is another story: In one of the companies I worked for, I saw a tester who looked to my eyes as sitting idle and I *requested* him to join me for the test content generation so that I could get better ideas. I said, "Hey let's generate this file as a test input" and started doing it. The tester interrupted, "Pradeep, can I ask the developer and come whether we can test with this clip?". Jeez! why should he ask a developer whether we testers can use a clip for testing? On probing him, I got to know that he was once scolded by a developer for doing a test without informing him. That's funny!
Most of the developers I have worked with never hesitate to ask for information from testers when they need it and I admire them for that. On a contrary some testers who were co-workers to me have feared to ask for information from the developers. This class of testers feel that developers might consider the questions as *silly*. What this class of tester is not aware is, questioning needs to be his tool to solve any testing problems he has in hand. If you aren't questioning, you aren't testing!
Finding bugs to bug a developer
Some testers are eager to find more bugs to keep the developer busy in case the relationship is in a bad state. Such a tester feels great after doing so and he doesn't realize that he isn't concentrating on learning a product while testing it. He keeps thinking, the crash and the hang that crashes a developers weekend plans.
Another dimension is, the severity and priority of the bug found is for no reason kept high by a tester to bug the developer and only a chain of mails flow to bring the levels down.
The foreign trip trauma
Some developers who come back from an on site assignment behave with testers in a way that makes the tester feel deprived of certain things. Are you thinking I would say, "This is a developers mistake?"
Nah! It is still a mistake of a tester who fails to recognize, being in India he is in a fastest growing economy of the world and the most watched nation of the world.
The jargon menace
Developers seem to talk jargons that a tester might not be aware of. Under some situations, a tester gets to feel inferior but the tester does not realize the fact that he need not know all the jargons the developer knows. A tester ideally should know a product better. In my experience, I worked with a developer who was writing code for an MP3 application whose jargons and lingo I did not understand but came up to me once, to ask in a soft voice; can I know how to do a Fast Forward in this application?.
Do you now think, I am trying to say a tester is better than a developer in this context?
Look at them, they do come out and admit mistakes/ask for information in front of a tester!
Testers need to realize that it is not just by talking and knowing the jargons of a developer helps him become a better tester but *skills* do make them better tester.
Development Managers heading Test team
Yeah! Wonderful point to end. Testers, in some companies report to a development manager. They never miss a chance to share their stories when they meet testers from other company, anywhere. The story is simple, the development manager is partial and developers get more hike and better appraisal each time. There is no end or beggining to such a story.
A story I heard: A tester went to the development manager and asked; why are you heading us?. The tester had to look out for a job, soon and the story ended there.
Think of Time v/s Value and Cost v/s Value , you might start doing more of testing! Enjoy solving better testing problems.
-- Pradeep Soundararajan - firstname.lastname@example.org +91-98451-76817
"Pradeep's first language is not English--his first language appears to be testing." -- Michael Bolton