This is the second half of our recent interview with Andrew Muns (@amuns), the president of Software Test & Performance. Today, we’ll cover his thoughts on how testers can get more respect, predicting STP’s future, and who would win in a fight between James and Jon Bach. If you missed it, check out the first half of the interview.
uTest: Testing is often viewed as a behind-the-scenes profession. What can testers do to bring their craft to light and make sure others understand the value?
A: Upper management at most companies may never truly understand what a test department contributes, especially since a contribution by definition goes unnoticed (i.e., something worked as expected.) To me this sounds like a cultural issue: how to translate the value of testing into manager-speak. Managers like things they can measure, so speaking their language means associating a measurable value on something vital but difficult to observe.
Software Test & Performance magazine has written many features on this question, but as a manager more than a tester, here is one argument I like (that applies more to consumer-facing applications): explain QA as a marketing function. How much does your company spend on marketing? Why would testing merit less investment? I bet your company would spend a lot to spread positive word-of-mouth from users. Shouldn’t management be willing to spend the same amount or more to avoid negative word-of-mouth? As United Airlines learned after breaking a customer’s guitar, negative word of mouth can be viral.
Critically, neither this argument, nor any other, will be made if testers themselves don’t make it!
uTest: Is James Bach really as smart as we think he is? Who would win in a fight between him and his brother, Jon?