The Case for Manual Testers

Let me tell you a story….

Once upon a time there was a magical world named IT.  It was a world of exploding ideas, technology, and of striving for excellence.  And every day it grew and grew.  Until one day, the demon EGO came in put a spell on all the cititizens of IT.  Because of this they quit striving for excellence.  Because of this people saw the errors (defects, bugs) that they made.  Because of this their egos told them that the real problem was the finders of those errors were the actual problem.  Until finally, they decided that all citizens who found a problem, spoke about the problem, or advocated for fixing the problem were beheaded. From that day on, the magical world of IT was no longer magical, citizens lost hope, the globe warmed and El Nino V3.2.0 destroyed the planet.

That’s the short version. And true, in essence….

The longer version is this.  Once upon a time there was IT!  And it was good.  Ideas and technologies were rolling out faster than could be comprehended.  In stepped the developers.  I was one of those developers, although I came in on the tail end of the magical part of the story.  It was before the demon EGO came in when we were dealing with our little egos that wanted us to be right.  Wanted us to be right enough to actually test our own code and make sure it was correct.  To have someone else find the error was devastating.  It was a game, a duel.  The Testers said “we will do anything, fair and unfair, to show you that your code doesn’t work.”  And the Developers said “bring it on.”    Developers were big and bad because they wrote solid code and they knew it.  Testers were in heaven because they had to work to find the bug (there’s always a bug) and they did.  And they were celebrated for it.

Then something happened.  The developers quit being big and bad.  They quit saying “bring it on.”  They decided to use the testers to do their own preliminary testing.   They would code, turn it in, and then get a whole slew of bugs back.  The demon EGO stepped in and told them that they were still BIG and BAD and should still be treated that way even though they didn’t deliver the goods.

I became a tester because SOMEONE who still remembered the magic needed to keep track of these pussy developers.  SOMEONE needed to show them that their code sucked.  And I did.  I am an awesome manual tester.

It all went down hill.  A good manual tester wants to find the real problem.  The problem that the developer or even the designer didn’t think about.  The problem that will really slip up the user.  Instead we were relegated to writing dozens of bugs just on spelling issues, buttons not clicking, or reports not coming out right,  all sorts of bugs that should have been caught in development.  Instead they wasted our time.  I remember working at Market Order, we’d get a new build and then have a contest of how many defects we could write.  There were five testers and in two hours we’d write over 300 defects.  Stupid defects, stupid reasons.

You’d think we’d be at the bottom of the hill but wait, there’s more.  Then they decided that the reason there were so many defects was because the testers were writing them.  Very logical don’t you think? If the testers don’t write the defects then the defects don’t exist.  So they limited us.  Write only defects based on the requirements.  Write only defects based on this or that….

Now, testers are testers for a reason.  They like to find the problem and help to solve it.  So while many testers followed these limitations, some, like me, still kept their eyes open for other problems and wrote those defects too.  Once the defect is written something has to be done with it right?  The chewing out we got was worth it to help the product be better.

But it wasn’t working.  There were STILL defects.  Something had to be done!  After all, the developers were GODS and wrote perfect code the first time.  There were so perfect that they didn’t even have to test their own work.  Enter the concept of testing being completely automated.

Testers are now required to be developers who can take the code, as is, and develop a test to test that it works the way it does.  Yeah….  First, automated tests are not human.  Humans are complex and are capable of anything.  Second, automated tests are developed with requirements in mind.  Lot’s of problems happen outside the requirements or against them.  The variations are infinite and no automated test can test for all of them.  It takes human intuition to test those variations in an efficient and effective manner.  Third, why would a developer want to use their skills to test?  I know C# now.  Why would I want to write automated tests?  I’d rather be creative.  And you can be sure I’ll test my own stuff.

Where are we now?  We are at the edge of ruin.  We can no longer even tentatively trust programs or websites.  Nothing is secure.  It’s all going to crash and burn.

Microsoft brought out it’s new IE.  It won’t let me go to the sites I need to apply for jobs.  I can’t use Facebook.  It’s not even pretty.  It just crashed and tells me it doesn’t like something so it’s bringing itself down.  And I can’t even turn it off.  So I changed to Firefox.  Is Microsoft looking for real testers?  Hell, no, just more automated testers.

I go to Facebook, or Crackbook, and there are so many problems, menus staying open, crashing, doing strange things.  I go to there career page.  Are there any testers listed in their help wanted listed?  Hell, no, just more developers.  No testers at all!

Thousands of out of work testers and a bunch of companies putting out failing operating systems and programs, because the demon EGO, is bringing them down.

I have turned off my Microsoft Automated Updates.  I don’t need them anymore. I don’t want things to get worse than they already are.  My roommate keeps pointing at his MAC.  Maybe I’ll have to move, but first let’s make sure the demon EGO hasn’t gotten a hold of them first.

Just to let you know, Karin Carlson is my stage name, in the IT world, I’m Karin Armbrust.  ‘m going to go print out my Outlook contacts because tomorrow….. If you got something to say to all of this, Bring It On.

1 thought on “The Case for Manual Testers

  1. I never knew the tester story. About IE, yes. Problems with PC’s, Yes. I’ve been in a secure relationship with my Mac for many years. Why, oh, why can’t we all just get along? Oh, yeah, money. The bottom line.

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