Tester - skills needed for successful software testing (3)

We continue exploring the traits needed for testers to be successful in testing software. The previous post looked at traits 4-6. In this post, let us look at three more Software Tester traits.

Tester Trait 7: Good judgement (judgment)

There's a saying that good judgement results from experience and experience results from bad judgement! Good judgement when combined with the other tester skills, can make for highly successful software testing. Judgement involves elements such as deciding on what to test, how much to test, estimating the time it would take to test and taking a call if an issue is really a defect or if a bug is worthy of deeper pursuit. Using judgement to determine the extent of testing to be performed involves comparison of the current project with past projects for estimating the quantum of risk. While this trait can produce results, it results from experience and knowledge gained over time and across projects.

Tester Trait 8: Tact and Diplomacy

Software Testing involves providing information and often we carry "bad news". An important part of the testing job is telling developers that their code is defective, highlighting issues and possible causes. At a human level, it is like telling a parent that their baby is ugly. Contrary to popular belief that testers and developers must be at loggerheads, Software testers need to have a good working relationship with developers. Co-operation between both functions is key to producing a quality software product. Tact and diplomacy is important to both convey bad news, follow up for fixes and maintain cordial relationships. Successful testers know how to do the balancing act and deal with developers tactfully and professionally even in cases where the other party is not very diplomatic.

Tester Trait 9: Persuasive

This trait continues from the previously mentioned trait - tact and diplomacy. Once the tester breaks the news about issues in the code, a range of reactions can arise. One of the likely reactions to bugs that testers report could be that the reported issue is categorized as not being important/severe enough to warrant a fix. Bugs may be re-prioritized and downgraded or deferred to a later time frame or be documented as an open issue. Just because the tester thinks a bug must be fixed does not mean that developers will agree and jump on fixing it. If a bug needs fixing, testers must be persuasive and clearly state the reasons for requiring a fix in a specified time frame. In case of a stalemate, communicating effectively to stakeholders and getting their inputs may also be required. Persuasion goes hand-in-hand with the other traits mentioned earlier, to ensure issues are addressed appropriately. 

Coming up next is a neatly consolidated article on the top 10 skills required to be a successful Software Testing professional covering all the attributes we have seen thus far plus an extra skill.