How many times has a tester or developer uttered these words to only have them come back and haunt them? Or worse, lose credibility? As a tester, it seems like a no-brainer to use CYA language in your everyday work. Heck, one just has to look to prolific software tester James Bach’s recent talk at CAST to figure that out (“I’m reluctant to say ‘pass.’ I’d rather say, I don’t see a problem as far as I can tell”).
But is “safety language,” such as ‘it seems to be’ versus ‘it is,’ something that should be a part of every tester’s skillset? Gold-rated tester on paid projects and uTest Forums Moderator Milos Dedijer seems to think so. It was a discussion topic that recently cropped up in the uTest Forums:
Some time ago, I had an argument with my team lead about my use of safety language. I tend to use it in any argument, and I believe that it’s a good practice. I don’t use it in my factual reports, but I do use it frequently in my descriptive reports. For example, if I say that a set of steps has been executed I don’t use safety language to report results, but if I say that a certain feature has been tested I use safety language almost all of the time. Using safety language to preserve uncertainty appears to be one of the skills a tester must have.