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Chapter: Software Testing : Testing Basics

The tester’s role in a software development organization

Testing is sometimes erroneously viewed as a destructive activity. The tester‘s job is to reveal defects, find weak points, inconsistent behavior, and circumstances where the software does not work as expected.

The tester’s role in a software development organization

 

Testing is sometimes erroneously viewed as a destructive activity. The tester‘s job is to reveal defects, find weak points, inconsistent behavior, and circumstances where the software does not work as expected. As a tester you need to be comfortable with this role. Given the nature of the tester‘s tasks, you can see that it is difficult for developers to effectively test their own code (Principles 3 and 8). Developers view their own code as their creation, their ―baby, and they think that nothing could possibly be wrong with it! This is not to say that testers and developers are adversaries. In fact, to be most effective as a tester requires extensive programming experience in order to understand how code is constructed, and where, and what kind of, defects are likely to occur. Your goal as a tester is to work with the developers to produce high- quality software that meets the customers‘ requirements. Teams of testers and developers are very common in industry, and projects should have an appropriate developer/tester ratio. The ratio will vary depending on available resources, type of project, and TMM level. For example, an embedded realtime system needs to have a lower developer/tester ratio (for example, 2/1) than a simple data base application (4/1 may be suitable). At higher TMM levels where there is a well- defined testing group, the developer/ tester ratio would tend to be on the lower end (for example 2/1 versus 4/1) because of the availability of tester resources. Even in this case, the nature of the project and project scheduling issues would impact on the ratio. In addition to cooperating with code developers, testers also need to work along side with requirements engineers to ensure that requirements are testable, and to plan for system and acceptance test (clients are also involved in the latter). Testers also need to work with designers to plan for integration and unit test. In addition, test managers will need to cooperate with project managers in order to develop reasonable test plans, and with upper management to provide input for the development and maintenance of organizational testing standards, polices, and goals. Finally, testers also need to cooperate with software quality assurance staff and software engineering process group members. In view of these requirements for multiple working relationships, communication and team working skills are necessary for a successful career as a tester. and marketing staff need to realize that testers add value to a software product in that they detect defects and evaluate quality as early as possible in the software life cycle. This ensures that developers release code with few or no defects, and that marketers can deliver software that satisfies the customers‘ requirements, and is reliable, usable, and correct. Low-defect software also has the benefit of reducing costs such as support calls, repairs to operational software, and ill will which may escalate into legal action due to customer dissatisfaction. In view of their essential role, testers need to have a positive view of their work. Management must support them in their efforts and recognize their contributions to the organization.

 

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