Blog: Testers: Get Out of the Quality Assurance Business

The other day, Cory Foy tweeted a challenge: “Having a QA department is a sign of incompetency in your Development department. Discuss.”

Here’s what I think: I’m a tester, and it’s time for our craft to grow up. Whatever the organizational structure of our development shops, it’s time for us testers to get out of the Quality Assurance business.

In the fall of 2008, I was at the Amplifying Your Effectiveness conference (AYE), assisting Fiona Charles and Jerry Weinberg with a session called “Testing Lies”. Jerry was sitting at the front of the room, and as people were milling in and getting settled, I heard him in the middle of a chat with a couple of people sitting close to him. “You’re in quality assurance?” he asked. Yes, came the answer. “So, are you allowed to change the source code for the programs you test?” No, definitely not. “That’s interesting. Then how can you assure quality?”

A good question, and one that immediately reminded me of a conversation more than ten years earlier. In the fall of 1996, Cem Kaner presented his Black Box Software Testing course at Quarterdeck. I was a program manager at the time, but the head of Quality Assurance (that is, testing) had invited me to attend the class. As part of it, Cem led a discussion as to whether the testing group should really be called “Quality Assurance”. His stance was that individuals—programmers and testers alike—could certainly assure the quality of their own work, but that testers could not assure the quality of the work of others, and shouldn’t try it. The quality assurance role in the company, Cem said, lay with the management and the CEO (the principal quality officer in the company), since it was they—and certainly not the testers—who had the authority to make decisions about quality. Over the years he has continued to develop this idea, principally in versions of his presentations and papers on The Ongoing Revolution in Software Testing, but the concept suffuses all of his work. The role for us is not quality assurance; we don’t have control over the schedule, the budget, programmer staffing, product scope, the development model, customer relationships, and so forth. But when we’re doing our best work, we’re providing valuable, timely information about the actual state of the product and the project. We don’t own quality; we’re helping the people who are responsible for quality and the things that influence it. “Quality assistance; that’s what we do.”

More recently, in an interview with Roy Osherove, James Bach also notes that we testers are not gatekeepers of quality. We don’t have responsibility for quality any more than anyone else; everyone on the development team has that responsibility. When he first became a test manager at Apple Computer way back when, James was energized by the idea that he was the quality gatekeeper. “I came to realize later that this was terribly insulting to everyone else on the team, because the subtle message to everyone else on the team is ‘You guys don’t really care, do you? You don’t care like I do. I’m a tester, that means I care.’ Except the developers are the people who create quality; they make the quality happen. Without the developers, nothing would be there; you’d have zero quality. So it’s quite insulting, and when you insult them like that, they don’t want to work with you.”

Last week, I attended the STAR East conference in Orlando. Many times, I was approached by testers and test managers who asked for my help. They wanted me to advise them on how they could get programmers to adopt “best practices”. They wanted to know how they could influence the managers to do a better job. They wanted to know how to impose one kind of process model or another on the development team. In one session, testers bemoaned the quality of the requirements that they were receiving from the business people (moreover, repeating a common mistake, the testers said “requirements” when they meant requirement documents). In response, one fellow declared that when he got back to work, the testers were going to take over the job of writing the requirements.

In answer to the request for advice, the most helpful reply I can give, by far, is this: these are not the businesses that skilled testers are in.

We are not the brains of the project. That is to say, we don’t control it. Our role is to provide ESP—not extra-sensory perception, but extra sensory perception. We’re extra eyes, ears, fingertips, noses, and taste buds for the programmers and the managers. We’re extensions of their senses. At our best, we’re like extremely sensitive and well-calibrated instruments—microscopes, telescopes, super-sensitive microphones, vernier calipers, mass spectrometers. Bomb-sniffing detectors. (The idea that we are the test instruments comes to me from Cem Kaner.) We help the programmers and the managers to see and hear and otherwise sense things that, in the limited time available to them, and in the mindset that they need to do their work, they might not be able to sense on their own.

Listen: if you really want to improve the quality of the code and think that you can, become a programmer. I’ve done that. I can assure you that if you do it too, you’ll quickly find out how challenging and humbling a job it is to be a truly excellent programmer—because like all tools, the computer extends your incompetence as quickly and powerfully as it extends your competence. If you want to manage the project, become a project manager. I’ve done that too, and I was pretty good at it. But try it, and you’ll soon discover that quality is value to some person or persons who matter, and that your own standards of quality are far less important than those who actually use the product and pay the bills. Become a project manager, and you’ll almost immediately realize that the decision to release a product is informed by technical issues but is ultimately a business decision, balancing the value of the product and bugs—threats to the value of the product—against the costs of not releasing it.

In neither case would I have found it helpful for someone who was neither a programmer nor a project manager to whine to me that I didn’t have respect for quality; worse still would have been instruction on how to do my job from people who had never done that kind of work. In both of those roles, what I wanted from testers was information. As a programmer, I wanted to know about problems the testers had found in my code, how they had found them, the ways in which the product might not work, and the steps and clues I needed to point me towards finding and fixing the problem myself. As a program manager, I wanted to know what information the testers had gathered about the product, and how they had configured, operated, observed, and evaluated the product to get that information. I wanted to know how our product worked differently from the ways in which it had always worked. I wanted to know about internal inconsistencies. I wanted to know how our product worked in comparison to other products on the market; how it was worse, how it was better. I wanted to know how the product stacked up against claims that we were making for it.

So:  you want to have an influence on quality, and on the team.  Want to know how to influence the programmers in a positive way?

  • Tell the programmers, as James suggests in the interview, that your principal goal is to help them look good—and then start believing it. Your job is not to shame, or to blame, or to be evil. I don’t think we should even joke about it, because it isn’t funny.
  • You’re often the bearer of bad news. Recognize that, and deliver it with compassion and humility.
  • You might be wrong too.  Be skeptical about your own conclusions.
  • Focus on exploring, discovering, investigating, and learning about the product, rather than on confirming things that we already know about it.
  • Report what you’ve learned about the product in a way that identifies its value and threats to that value.
  • Try to understand how the product works on all of the levels you can comprehend, from the highest to the lowest.  Appreciate that it’s complex, so that when you have some harebrained idea about how simple it is to fix a problem, or to find all the bugs in the code, you can take the opportunity to pause and reflect.
  • Express sincere interest in what programmers do, and learn to code if that suits you. At least, learn a little something about how code works and what it does.
  • Don’t ever tell programmers how they should be doing their work. If you actually believe that that’s your role, try a reality check: How do you like it when they do that to you?

Want to know how to influence the managers?

  • Provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions, and then let them make the decisions.
  • Remain fully aware that they’re making business decisions, not just technical ones.
  • Know that the product doesn’t necessarily have to hew to your standard of quality.
  • It’s not the development manager’s job, nor anyone else’s, to make you happy. It might be part of their job to help you to be more productive.  Help them understand how to do that.  Particularly draw attention to the fact that…
  • Issues that slow down testing are terribly important, because they allow bugs the opportunity to hide for longer and deeper. So report not only bugs in the product, but issues that slow down testing.
  • If you want to provide information to improve the development process, report on how you’re actually spending your time.
  • Note, as is so commonly the case, why testing is taking so long—how little time you’re spending on actually testing the product, and how much time you’re spending on bug investigation and reporting, setup, meetings, administrivia, and other interruptions to obtaining test coverage.
  • Focus on making these reports accurate (say to the nearest five or ten per cent) rather than precise, because most problems that we have in software development can be seen and solved with first-order measures rather than six-decimal analyses derived from models that are invalid anyway.
  • Show the managers that the majority of problems that you find aren’t exposed by mindless repetition of test cases, but by actions and observations that the test cases don’t cover—that is, by your sapient investigation of the product.
  • Help managers and programmers alike to recognize that test automation is more, far more, than programming a machine to pound keys.
  • Help everyone to understand that automation extends some kinds of testing and greatly limits others.
  • Help to keep people aware of the difference between testing and checking.  Help them to recognize the value of each, and that excellent checking requires a great deal of testing skill.
  • Work to demonstrate that your business is skilled exploration of the product, and help managers to realize that that’s how we really find problems.
  • Help the team to avoid the trap of thinking of software development as a linear process rather than an organic one.
  • Help managers and programmers to avoid confusing the “testing phase” with what it really is: the fixing phase.
  • When asked to “sign off” on the product, politely offer to report on the testing you’ve done, but leave approval to those whose approval really matters: the product owners.

Want to earn the respect of your team?

  • Be a service to the project, not an obstacle. You’re a provider of information, not a process enforcer.
  • Stop trying to “own” quality, and take as your default assumption that everyone else on the project is at least as concerned about quality as you are.
  • Recognize that your role is to think critically—to help to prevent programmers and managers from being fooled—and that that starts with not being fooled yourself.
  • Diversify your skills, your team, and your tactics. As Karl Weick says, “If you want to understand something complicated, you have to complicate yourself.”
  • As James Bach says, invent testing for yourself. That is, don’t stop at accepting what other people say (including me); field-test it against your own experience, knowledge, and skills. Check in with your community, and see what they’re doing.
  • If there’s something that you can learn that will help to sharpen your knowledge or your senses or your capacity to test, learn it.
  • Study the skills of testing, particularly your critical thinking skills, but also work on systems thinking, scientific thinking, the social life of information, human-computer interaction, data representation, programming, math, measurement
  • Practice the skills that you need and that you’ve read about. Sharpen your skills by joining the Weekend Testing movement.
  • Get a skilled mentor to help you. If you can’t find one locally, the Internet will provide. Ask for help!
  • Don’t bend to pressure to become a commodity. Certification means that you’re spending money to become indistinguishable from a hundred thousand other people. Make your own mark.
  • Be aware that process models are just that—models—and that all process models—particularly those involving human activities like software development—leave out volumes of detail on what’s really going on.
  • Focus on developing your individual skill set and mindset, so that you can be adaptable to any process model that comes along.
  • Share your copy of Lessons Learned in Software Testing and Perfect Software and Other Illusions About Testing.

Ultimately, if you’re a tester, get out of the quality assurance business. Be the best tester you can possibly be: a skilled investigator, rather than a programmer or project manager wannabe.

Note: every link above points to something that I’ve found to be valuable in developing the thinking and practice of testing. Some I wrote; most I didn’t.  Feast your mind!

Want to know more? Learn about Rapid Software Testing classes here.

93 responses to “Testers: Get Out of the Quality Assurance Business”

  1. Mike Bonar says:

    Hi Michael,

    Interestingly, on my last project as performance tester, the performance team was actually part of the development team. We were following a Agile methodology, and our test team attended the daily stand-ups along with all the developers.

    A subsequent post will suggest that we are all developers–programmers, testers, business analysts, DBAs, graphic artists, documentors, program managers, network support folk. Technical support people may also be developers, too.

    This was the first time I had experienced a project that had broken down the formal lines between the two teams. On good testing efforts it is often the case that the two teams work closely together even though there are formal boundaries.

    There was a large functional test team that was separate from the development team on the same project, and this is typical of most testing experiences. I am wondering if the size of the teams determines how the groups interact successfully…

    Social research (and The Mythical Man Month, among many other books) suggest that it does. Thank you for the comment!

  2. Thank you for this!
    It is a very good and much more thorough extension to Kaner’s chapter about this in “The ongoing revolution” (which was such a useful tool for us in the “QA”-team at my company around 2003-2004).

    It’s wonderful to receive recognition for this post, but I’d like to join you in emphasizing how much of it has been said before, by Cem, by James, and by Jerry. I can think of no better outcome of this post than for more people to become familiar with their work. (Ambigiuity–at least two interpretations of “their”–is intentional.)

    A small addition to the list about influencing management:
    * Tailor the test strategy so that it meet the objectives of the project stakeholders (and management). This way you create a connection between their expectations and the approach of the test work (which they pay for).
    This then also connects to your point “Provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions, and then let them make the decisions.”

    That’s an excellent addition.

  3. Simon Morley says:

    Michael. A comprehensive post!

    I have the occasional struggle at my shop about the tester role. But it’s something I see in plenty of places – part entrenchment, part ignorance, part “bad” experience bias etc, etc.

    I’m trying my own brand of test evangelism – here in a post tipping my hat at you, Jerry, but also influenced by Cem Kaner & James Bach.

    I think it’s something that all testers who reject the QA label need to push/advocate in their shops.

    Thanks for the comment, Simon, and thanks for the link to your blog post. What can I say but that I agree!

  4. Chris Mower says:

    Great article with solid advice. Thanks! I especially like the tips section about communicating with both developers and project managers.

    Thanks for commenting, Chris. Glad you got value from it.

  5. Jim Hazen says:

    All boils down to what I’ve been saying for a few years now. If all you do is Testing then you are a Tester. We are NOT Quality Assurance if all of our work activities are testing centric. QA is so much more than testing alone.

    Yes; we usually call it management (or perhaps self-management).

    Holy crap… something else I’m in agreement with you on. This is getting scary.

    That’s the second time you’ve expressed surprise at agreeing with me. With what did you ever disagree before? Why didn’t we talk about it? As for it getting scary to agree with me… learn to live with it. Learn to love it. [grin/]

    All joking aside, excellent post. There are definitely some links I will follow up on. Even old dogs can learn some new tricks.

    Thanks for the comments. I’m glad you liked it.

  6. SkinnyD says:

    Michael,

    A great article. I work as a tester in a company where testing was an afterthought, but I rode out the wave until now we are fairly respected and considered necessary by the development team. We’ve had ups and downs, but as I read over your article I notice that our successes have largely come by adherence to the principles you outline. Your post also gives me some great ideas about how to be proactive in the future as well.

    Thanks for the kind words. I hope the ideas continue to be helpful. (Actually, I hope for a day when they’re history.)

    However, we’re still known as “QA”. Do you think the “QA” label automatically brings with it incorrect assumptions from the other teams / management? Also, how do you recommend convincing the rest of the company that we’re the “Testing Department” and not the “QA Department?”

    I think words are powerful forces in setting our models and our expectations. I think the label is pretty toxic.

    I call myself a tester, and I’m perfectly comfortable with that. Knowing what little I know about your situation, I’d encourage you and your colleagues to say “We’d prefer to be called testers. If you’d prefer to call us something else, that’s okay, but we’d be interested to know why you’d want to call us anything other than what we’d like to be called.” But again, I don’t know enough to advise, and even I did, I’m not you. So my recommendation is to follow your own lights.

  7. Oliver says:

    Good reflection of what I think on the Testing vs QA discussion.

    I feel that a lot of the confusion also emanates from the use of the words. I know that if my mother/wife/friend asks what I do I say “Quality Assurance” because that will give them a far better picture of what I do quicker than if I say “Tester” or “Test Analyst”.

    I’m fully aware that I am actually saying the wrong thing but the picture in their minds for Quality Assurance is that of a Tester and that of a Tester is …..well…. mostly… nothing. So you end up explaining and at the end they say “Well like you’re doing Quality Assurance?”. That’s the part where you say “OK” and give up.

    Give up? Is it really that exhausting to explain what you do? You know how do handle this. You deal patiently with programmers who don’t understand the problem you’re reporting, right? Next time, try this: “I’m a tester. I learn about the product, and I search for problems in it. Some people call that “quality assurance”, but that’s a mistake. The people who have authority assure quality, and I help them out.” If your family doesn’t have time for that explanation (or you don’t have time to provide it), there are probably more serious issues to address than what you do for work.

    The thing is that this is OK for mother/wife/friends but not for developers, project managers, BAs, sales people, CFOs, CIOs,… but many of them see it the same way.

    You know, since it’s your mission and your relationship to your client that’s at stake here, I might be inclined to invest another few well-chosen sentences.

    They loosely talk about QA and think Testing or think Testing and sub-surmise it contains QA. But because the terms are used so differently world wide (which in my opinion is just wrong use of the terms) there is a entrenched misunderstanding of the areas of competence.

    You can do something about that. We all can. As Jerry Weinberg says, a tester is someone who knows that things can be different.

    QA is in my opinion as far removed from Testing as Business Analysis is. Yes, both have areas where the sort-of overlap or border on each other, help each other out but they are de-facto separate.

    And I wish the term QA would completely vanish from the Testing industry. It would make things much clearer and simpler for everyone.

    Again, you can help. I want to encourage you to do that. The revolution starts with us. Here. Now.

  8. Cory Foy says:

    Michael – thanks for making a tweet into a wonderful resource and statement of the testing craft. Your points hit exactly many of the thoughts that were in my head when I made that tweet, and I’m thrilled to see it here.

    Cory

    Thanks, Cory. This post has been building up for a while, but you dropped the key glove. 🙂

  9. Dhanasekar S says:

    Thanks Michael – For yet another classic like Checking Vs Testing. This one link is going to serve as the most beautiful and excellent source of information for any software tester.Any tester can start his journey of learning here
    –Dhanasekar S

    Thank you, Dhanasekar. It’s particularly important to me that people in India—and their managers—get this message.

  10. Lynn McKee says:

    Wow…and Thank You!

    You’re welcome, and thank YOU.

    Having had the distinct pleasure of sharing thoughtful and insightful discussions with you, I am delighted to have this concise, cogent and neatly packaged “brain dump”. Your passion and conviction is readily apparent throughout.

    I have struggled in the past to articulate some of the points you have shared so clearly and concisely.

    So have I.

    I look forward to referencing this blog countless times in the future, much in the same way I have used “Testing vs Checking”.

    Thanks again to you, Jerry, James, Cem and all the testers who participate in the “testing revolution”. Count me in!

    Cheers,
    Lynn

    Thanks again. I hope people find the post helpful. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Calgary in June!

  11. Joris says:

    This is very interesting and also very practical, and I’m glad to say I recognize most points you address. I would like to add that with both developers and managers you should always discuss issues with the _product_: never play it personal.

    About the name game: I work at a QA company where we call the testers quality analysts to show that we are more than test dummies.
    In my current (scrum) project we are called test analysts to signify that our primary target is testing but also play an active role in designing, development and relations with the users.

    Thank you for adding to the conversation. “Quality analyst” certainly seems more accurate to me than “quality assurance”. To show that you’re more than test dummies, though, my ideal strategy wouldn’t be to change the label. It would be to show that you’re not test dummies. I expect that you’re doing that, and that the actions speak louder than the words.

  12. Steven Devonport says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the well constructed article, it’s nice and refreshing to read something that’s not been rehashed a million times 🙂

    For me this one line sums up my whole approach to managing testers and testing: Be a service to the project, not an obstacle. You’re a provider of information, not a process enforcer.

    Thanks for the comment, Steve. I agree with me too. 🙂

  13. steved says:

    I agree that my role within projects is better defined by the term ‘Tester’ or ‘Test analyst’ than by the term ‘Quality Assurance analyst’. But QA is the label used within the industry. If one is seeking work as a Tester, one’s resume needs to include the words Quality Assurance to meet the search criteria used by many / most companies. I refer to myself as a Tester, but if I want to be considered for relevant contracts, I have to keep QA on my resume…

    Thanks for the comment. I know what you mean. I think I still include “quality assurance” in the meta tags in my blog (too lazy to look at the moment), but I’m hoping that’s a temporary condition. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with adding keywords that refer to things that you want to make disappear. I expect there are doctors that include “cancer” or “scabies” in their meta tags. There are scary implications for the fact that searches are mediated by search engines, and that people often search for things different than what they’re actually looking for.

    We might be able to help the process of conversion along by persuading hiring managers to seek testers, rather than QA analysts.

    We might also use Cem’s trick: “QA? Oh… I thought you meant that stood for quality assistance. That’s what I do.”

    Finally, I wonder about “have to”. We don’t have to do anything, do we? For example, if an employer insists on putting me in “quality assurance” rather than testing, that’s information that tells me something about whether I want to work there.

  14. Allen Johnson says:

    Thanks for the insight. I can make up whatever title for my position I want (small company) and have struggled for years to come up with something that covers my far ranging responsibilities without having ‘QA’ or ‘Engineer’ in it. More and more I find myself falling back on ‘Software Tester’.
    I think my favorite suggested title so far is one I learned from Scott Barber at a conference a couple of years ago, which is ‘Quality Forecaster’. I haven’t had the guts to make it my official title yet, though 🙂

    Hi, Allen. Thanks for the comment.

    Hmmm. I like “software tester”, obviously. Much as I have respect for Scott, though, “Quality Forecaster” worries me a little. Think of “Weather Forecaster” or “Financial Forecaster” (post-2008). I’d like to stick with what can be observed and described now. How about “Investigative Software Reporter”?

    On second thought: Nah. Software Tester says it all.

  15. Andy says:

    Great article — well put. So many participants in the development process have preconceived notions of what success means and its mostly selfish and hinders the larger goal. Thanks for breaking it down in a clear, concise and impactful way. Still, I wonder where QA does belong. Clearly development and product owners have a role but who (or what) has the wherewithal, energy and skill to make it practically happen? Does reality require a person or organization to own quality to improve it? Or can it truly be distributed across every member? If you want security, you often need a security expert. If you want scalability usually the architects own that.

    Michael replies: Thanks for the comment, and for the opportunity to emphasize this:

    There are at least couple of kinds of quality assurance, as I point out above (apparently not clearly enough). There’s assurance of the quality of your own work. That’s something that individual programmers, graphic artists, user interaction designers, documentors, localizers, and the like (as you suggest, including security experts and architects) put into the product directly. The people who support those people—testers, build and configuration management, internal support, customer support, human resources, adminstrative staff, marketers, salespeople, and so forth (sorry to the groups I’ve left out)—can assure the quality of their own work too. They contribute to the product indirectly, or if you like, they contribute to the greater system of the product. Then there’s the overall responsibility for the quality of the greater product. That kind of quality assurance lives with the management functions—product owners, development management, other line managers, and up the chain to the CEO. Those are also people who don’t put quality into the product directly, but make all the decisions that make a quality product possible.

    On top of all that, I suppose (as my colleague Markus Gaertner suggested in private correspondence) I’mg going to have to do a post on the idea of quality as a relationship. More work to do!

  16. @Michael,
    One word for this blog post *Rocking*.

    Thanks,
    Santhosh Shivanand Tuppadn m

    Thanks, Santosh. I had my Indian colleagues very strongly in mind when I wrote the post, and I’d be delighted if it were circulated widely there.

  17. Sajid Z Saiyed says:

    Michael – thanks for making a tweet into a wonderful resource and statement of the testing craft.

    Thanks for the thanks. And you’re welcome.

  18. Hi Michael,

    Excellent article. It perfectly describes everything i am advocating here in the Netherlands. A lot of people here are still focussing on QA. Overhere testers are still held responsible for the problems caused by a bug when occured in production. When a bug is found, it’s always “badly tested”. We still need to do some advocating here 🙂

    I do would like to comment on one line in your article:
    We don’t have responsibility for quality any more than anyone else; everyone on the development team has that responsibility

    Maybe it should be better to address the difference between “feeling responsible” and “being responsible”. In my opinion everyone in the development team should FEEL responsible for the quality of the product. They ARE responsible to use all of there professional and personal abilities to add quality to the product. So a developer or tester can be held responsible for doing a crappy job in programming or testing. But in the end only one person should be held accountible (and therefore be held responsible) for the quality of the product. To me, that person is the contractor. In (a traditional) project most likely the project manager. It’s his responsibility to assure the quality of the product. It’s his responsibility to motivate others to feel responsible for the quality of the product. A project members can be held accountably for not using all of his/her professional or personal capability as a programmer or a tester to acchieve the goals set by the contractor.

    Yes, I agree. Individuals have control over the quality of their own work (and should exercise that control), but ultimately ownership of the quality of the entire product lies with the product owner.

  19. David Wilson says:

    Thanks for writing, David.

    Posted on http://afterhourtesting.blogspot.com/ January 6, 2010

    The myth of Software Quality Assurance

    I have the opportunity to interview every so often, and I like finding out what the candidate knows about the work they do. For this reason I almost always ask the candidate to tell me the difference between Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC). At first I was astounded at the responses. I felt as though, I had asked the candidate to list all the heads of states for Zimbabwe since its inception. Now these candidates are usually those with many years of experience, you know 10+ and considered senior testers. I felt safe asking because, I thought if you are working in an industry for more than a couple of years, you should know something basic about your job; sadly I was wrong.

    I have a different perspective: I think that the difference between quality assurance and quality control (as roles) is irrelevant to software testing, for all the reasons that I talk about above. That’s not to say that the quality part is irrelevant, but that the assurance and control parts are, since we neither assure nor control quality.

    I have a good friend who tells me that I am anal about the difference between QA & QC and she is probably right. But in interviewing these candidates I have found that there are unlimited views on the differences. I have been told that QA – “is following scenarios assuring quality”; “measuring the amount of quality”; “that it is analysis or detailed or in-depth validation of software”; “the job is to find defects”.

    Those experiences should give you a clue as to the actual relevance of the distinction.

    For QC it goes something like this – “there’s no difference”; “where faults are found in acceptable ranges”; “it’s an evaluation against standard”; “that QC is more comprehensive than QA”; “it is the job of engineering, development, and design”; “that quality is the composition for a product line”; “that QC is the verification of the end product”; “it is the flow through the application without errors”.

    It is amazing that so many of us in the software testing business don’t know what we do. Are we QA or are we QC? Many testers junior or senior do not know.

    I know: I am neither.

    I believe it because the majority of companies we work for do not understand what we do as well as they should. Consequently testers are placed in a department titled QA, and the testers test the software. Go to any Software Quality Assurance (SQA) group and what is the main topic of their conversations it is testing, improving testing, automated testing, manual testing, etc.

    Yes, I have a point. My point is that QA is not testing. QA is the assurance of quality and QC is the control of quality. Let me explain, I believe, as many of you, that you cannot test quality into any product. Quality comes when there are processes which are followed and the process are reviewed, followed by some analysis on the process to correct any flaws found in them, and then the flawed process is modified to produce a better product. This is QA; it is a short but simple answer. QA has nothing to do with testing. On the other hand, testing is QC. QC is the validation of the product to a set of specifications, requirements, or standards. The validation is accomplished through the action of testing the product against the requirements. We all work for the QA department yet we do QC work and we perpetuate the myth by calling ourselves “QA”. I have been corrected many times by testers which state very forcefully that “we are QA”.

    I agree with you that they’re mistaken in that impression. Yet there’s more. If you look at your own experience, you will soon see that testing is much more than validation of the product against requirements. In the Rapid Software Testing course, James Bach and I suggest that to test a product means “trying it to learn sufficiently everything that matters about how it can work and how it might not work”. This is not merely about validation to requirements (which, by the way, are typically mistaken for requirements documents); it is about exploring, discovering, investigating, and learning. Conformance to requirements, both explicit and implicit, is important, to be sure. However, testing is also important in discovering requirements, in refining requirements, in questioning requirements. All through the project, we’re finding that what we thought we knew at the beginning is different—often radically different—from what we thought we knew and what we thought we understood. Excellent testing helps to reveal that. “Validation”, I think, doesn’t—or does it very weakly.

    My stand is that we who test any software product are actually in the business of QC – quality control; in that we focus on controlling the quality of the product, once it is delivered to us. We are not QA, for we assure nothing.

    I agree; and I feel the same way about control.

    We just validate the requirements have been met and report any deviation in the product from them.

    Again, I hope that you can look at your experience and see that you actually do much more than that. Also: beware of that word “just”.

  20. Herb Bal says:

    Hey Michael,

    Hey, Herb… thanks for writing.

    I don’t know how you can so easily separate the people who are filtering, finding and giving the information from the people who are using the information.

    Sure, the President is ultimately responsible for taking action, but if the CIA gives him filtered information that there are weapons of mass destruction, shouldn’t they get a fair bit of flak as well? The President can’t be expected to know everything the CIA knows, that’s why he has a CIA.

    Yes. And that’s also exactly why the CIA shouldn’t set policy—because there’s a President who’s responsible for that. As I’ve said, it’s typically a bad thing when the eyes start running the brain instead of informing it.

    I agree with you that Testers/Test Managers shouldn’t be the *only* people that are responsible for product quality, but they are responsible for it. We (testers/Test managers) are the ones providing the information. We, with input, are deciding what features and functions to test and how much time and effort to spend on these features. This has a direct impact on product quality because the decision makers are already basing their decisions upon a filter created by testing, albiet with others’ input as well.

    That’s right. And this is the sense in which testers are responsibility for the quality of their own work, as are the programmers, the designers, the documentors, and so on. But let’s not confuse the quality of the product overall with the quality of the work that went into it. I can assure the quality of my own work, but I can’t assure the quality over work for which I am not respsonsible—the work of others, and the product overall.

    If you believe that we also shouldn’t be deciding what to test, or how much time or effort goes in, and that decision is also made by someone else, then I would agree with you.

    I believe that to a great degree we should be deciding what to test, and that the decision should be reached in collaboration with our clients and our stakeholders. Again, we’re in a service position. Our clients know some things, and we know others, and exchanging that knowledge is often illumiinating. Consider the restaurant analogy: as your waiter, I’m certainly going to bring you what you ask for, but I’m also going to work with you to determine that that’s what you really want, based on things that I know about that you might need to know. As a customer, I appreciate this collaboration. I hear about the Death by Chocolate dessert and order it, and yet I appreciate it when the waiter thinks to mention that there are hazelnuts in it; I’m allergic to them, and I sometimes forget to ask.

    In a testing question, one of the first things for a tester to ask is, “Is it okay if I ask questions?” If it’s not okay, you can proceed or not as you wish, but if you do proceed, it’s important to make the client aware of the associated risk. I get the sense that, in a recent Administration, the client wasn’t interested in having too many questions asked.

    Testers are the pre-users, they had better have an opinion of quality because users will, and it should show on what they advocate for, what they test, and how they can *help* to improve the quality of the product by influencing others.

    It’s my sincere hope that my information will be helpful in getting my client what s/he wants. I worry about my influence when it diverges from what my client wants. A belief that I’m responsible for the quality of the product in a way that usurps my client’s responsibility is the risky area here.

  21. Lynn McKee says:

    Michael,

    I had another thought on this after hearing some musings on why the label “Quality Assurance” even exists. If we look at the origins and understand the basis for QA and QC in manufacturing there is merit to the concept of assuring quality. The disconnect occurs where you transition the same philosophies from the mass production of “widgets” – weaponry, car parts, match sticks – too the development of software. Understanding how we arrived at the current state of despair is one level of consciousness, realizing we are able to move forward and define a brighter, better future for software testing is the next. We all need to remember the quote “A tester is somehow who knows things can be different.” by Jerry Weinberg. Let’s be mindful to push the boundaries and limitations around software testing, many of which we actually self impose.

    – Lynn

    Very nicely put; thanks.

  22. Matt Heusser's Blog » Friday Funday - Testing at the Edge of Chaos says:

    […] My colleague and friend Michael Bolton has been cranking out the blog posts – most recently Testers: Get Out Of The Quality Assurance Business and When Testers Are Asked for a Ship/NoShip Decision. Both of these articles stand on their own, […]

  23. Drew Jackson says:

    This is a fantastic article and discussion, and I really appreciate the advice and discussion points.

    I’ve pondered the QA vs QC aspects since my starts in the Software Industry.

    I seem to be in the minority here, but I’ve felt a sense of pride in calling my work teams ‘Quality Assurance.’ In recent organizations where I’ve worked, there’s been a level of credence or prestige given to an organization that recognizes Quality as an institution and sees it as important enough to have a department who focuses solely on measuring and ‘assuring’ an appropriate level of quality in products we ship.

    My daughter is five years old. She was saying something with “air quotes”, using her fingers as she was speaking. I asked her what that meant. She said “That means ‘doesn’t mean'”. I notice that you put ‘assuring’ in quotes above. So I have a question for you: if my daughter is right, why are you saying something you don’t really mean?

    Now, I really don’t want to ask that in a nasty way. I really don’t. I am saying, though, if you know the notion is a fiction (as the quotes suggest), why try to perpetuate it?

    That said, I will also respectfully disagree with you, though: if the organization really believes in quality why should there be a separate group for it? It’s like having a separate Ethics Department, or a Virtue Division. I’d prefer to work in an organization where virtue, ethics, and quality were considered essential aspects of every department, and were incorporated in every person in the organization.

    I in no wise aspire to own product quality 100% for my current company, and all executives regularly communicate that every employee is responsible for recognizing and contributing top quality. But, as a QA Director, I push my team to be top experts in our industry, our client’s needs, and in our software. We promote and mentor quality, in a cooperative manner, with sales, analysts, developers, and customer support staff, to regularly assure quality at every step of our lifecycle, where we can have a positive influence (but not in a forceful or policing manner).

    Testing is often our first job responsibility, but in these ways, and by following many of the suggestions posed in the article above, I am of the opinion staff who primarily test software have opportunity to be a positive influence that does ‘assure’ quality — and there is great intrinsic value in having a company that has a group designated as ‘QA.’

    There are those quotes again. But hey: you and your company do get to choose your own road, and your own title. I hope that the rest of the company finds your contribution helpful. I don’t know your business, and I’m certainly not a policeman. But if my business is testing and my department name is incongruent with my role, the first blow that I strike for quality is to align my business and my (named) role.

    All the best!

  24. Hello Michael,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, and I want to thank you for putting this post together. There are resources here that I was unaware of and new ideas that I can use as I try to influence my org.

    – Federico

    Thanks, Federico. I love that you and Matt are doing the CodingQA podcasts. Wanna chat sometime? 🙂

  25. Since the early days of my career I have known that the term ‘QA’ did not make any sense when used as synonymously with Testing. I was lucky enough to work at companies where they also understood this. I recently started a new job, and am in a situation where the Test groups is called the ‘QA’ group. I have done what I can thus far to attempt to begin dispelling the common misconceptions of what testing is and is not, but I do not like the fact that the department is called ‘QA’. Do you have any suggestions/insight into how I can get the name of the department changed?

    There are many mailing groups and processes in place where the ‘QA’ term is used, for example in JIRA, our Wiki, mailing lists, etc. so there is work associated with changing the name. I know why it is important to me for it to be changed, but I am not sure how I am going to sway the decision makers.

    They probably don’t care. If they did care, they would realize that they, not you, are the quality assurance department. Try putting up a big sign at your desk that says “Quality Assistance”. Get some t-shirts made up that say “Questions Answered”. Get a button maker to make “Tester” buttons, and hand them out to your colleagues. Drop a copy of my post onto some managers’ desks. Get a copy of “The Ongoing Revolution in Software Testing” passed around if you really want to get an energetic conversation started.

    Any advice would be appreciated,

    Thanks,
    Steve

    Questions are appreciated. Hope this helps.

  26. Paul Dyson says:

    Michael,

    an interesting exchange of tweets just now. Thought I’d come and comment on the article you pointed me to just now although the comments are as much about the tweets as the article.

    First off I’m a great believer in specialist skills even in agile teams. Yes you want to have a bunch of multi-skilled people and yes, no one person should be saddled with sole responsibility for any aspect of the system or the process. But the fact remains that some things are best done by people who have particular expertise in that area and their job is to help other people on the team appreciate, understand and respect that area. The kinds of things I’m talking about: ‘Architecture’, User Experience, Database Admin, Deployment, and Testing. Your point about everyone contributing to development and everyone being responsible for quality is spot on … but that doesn’t mean we, as a team, can’t look to certain people to take the lead in certain areas.

    I don’t think I ever suggested otherwise. If you see that, let me know and I’ll try to fix it.

    I’ve always balked at calling what I’d call ‘QA people’ testers. It feels a bit dismissive … just like calling developers ‘coders’.

    You mean like calling programmers “coders”, right? Where I come from, all the people you mention above are developers. Meanwhile, for those who want to be dismissive of testers, you could call them “script monkeys” or some such. But to me, “tester” captures it perfectly. Calling testers “quality assurance” is wrong, and it’s a form of title inflation. Now, if you want to inflate our titles, you could do that do. In that case, you could call us “epistemological evaluators” or “empirical skeptics”. But again, tester is fine with me.

    Ultimately people can be called whatever they want but Quality Assurance is actually what I’m looking for in people who specialise in testing. That isn’t to say that they are the guarantors of bug-free code, or that they are held accountable for issues with the system (the whole team takes responsibility for that), but rather that they assure in the British (aka ‘correct’ ;)) definition of the word: insurance against things that are bound to happen at some point. Life Assurance is one of the oldest financial products in London … it doesn’t guarantee life or contribute to the presence of life, it provides a safety net that does its best to guard against the consequences of death.

    You do see how testers don’t do that, right? Not even insurance companies guard against the consequence of death; they simply cough up money when it happens, for the beneficiary to do with it what he will. We don’t provide insurance. That is, we don’t offer “the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment”. It’s not a metaphor that works for me. We provide information. If you want a metaphor, think “investigative reporter”, “crime scene investigator”. Perhaps you might think “minesweeper” (“sapper”, in the UK), except we don’t particularly suffer anything like the same degree of consequences when we make a mistake.

    Enough of the metaphors; what do I mean in terms of QA for software? First off, in a TDD process, this isn’t ‘just’ about finding bugs. When bugs are inevitably found its about helping the developers understand the gaps in their unit and functional tests. Sometimes QA is about code reviewing or pairing those tests – providing specialist skills and experience to help the developers write better tests (skilled developers are adept and making things work, skilled QA people are adept at showing how they don’t). QA is about representing the view of the user; sometimes explaining to the product owner and the devs that they might think the system is ‘good enough’ but actually it just isn’t. And its about the whole team saying to their users and customers that we care enough about what we do to be prepared to be told, by one of our own, that what we’ve worked hard on just isn’t good enough.

    It is, to me, presumptuous and insulting to other people on the project to suggest that testers have some special kinship with the user; that we speak for the user and that, implicity, others do not. And as a tester, I’m not an arbiter of “good enough”, because I don’t run the project. What I might do is to say “this problem appears to threaten the value of the product overall because there’s a weakness with respect to this quality criterion”. But after that, the programmers and the product owner can do with the information what they will.

    This is what I look for in a ‘QA person’ and anyone who said “oh, I don’t do any of that, I’m just a tester – I write scripts and I perform manual test cases” isn’t likely to be invited to be part of the team.

    That’s not what I say. I say that “I provide the team with information about how the product actually works, not how we wish or hope it works. I do that by modeling the test space, by identifying quality criteria and oracles, by identifying product elements and coverage, by choosing techniques (which may or may not be assisted by automation). I configure, operate, observe, and evaluate the product; I decide when I’ve obtained enough information to be useful, and I convey that information to you. That information enables you, Dear Programmers and Dear Product Owners, to make informed decisions about the product. As above, you have the authority to change the code if you’re a programmer. If you’re a product owner, you have the authority to determine the scope of the product, to set the schedule, determine the staffing, set contractual obligations with customers, respond to market conditions, allocate the budget; and you also have much more business information than I do. I encourage you to run the project, and in order to assist you, I’ll give you the best information that you don’t yet have. I’ll light the way, but you’re in charge. You set the course and steer the ship.” Or would you rather have me telling you what you should be doing? Wouldn’t you find that a triflle… annoying? Presumptuous? Insulting?

    Inevitably the first thing I read in your post was the line “Having a QA department is a sign of incompetency in your Development department.” Totally agree. But I’m not talking about departments here I’m talking about individuals. In a long-term, large-scale agile project I ran one of our first actions was to take a team of 5 testers out of the QA department and give them a first-class role in the team, each one assigned to a sub-team of 8-10 devs (it was a too-large-scale project when we inherited it). It took a while but one of them commented after some time: “I actually feel like I’m contributing to quality now rather than just telling the developers how shit the system is”. That’s what ‘QA’ means to me.

    We testers do contribute to quality in the sense that we provide information that informs it. Maybe the difference in your current team is that the programmers and product owners listen more carefully to that information. And maybe that happened because the testers realized that if you’re telling programmers how shit the system is, you’re inflicting your vision of quality on them instead of providing, dispassionately, the factual information that the programmers really need to do their jobs.

  27. […] test to non-testers: Why are we not QA, why does it take so much time? Why do developers need to test as well. What is our goal as […]

  28. […] testing purpose post by Cory on June 4, 2010 I’ve been following this discussion ( http://www.developsense.com/blog/2010/05/testers-get-out-of-the-quality-assurance-business/) on Michael Bolton’s blog lately.  I’ll admit to being a convert to the context driven […]

  29. […] offer better ideas than Michael Bolton’s? No. So why don’t you read Michael’s wonderful post and start […]

  30. Stephen Hill says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for writing such a detailed and thought-provoking post.

    Several years ago I thought that QA and testing were synonymous terms but about four or five years back I suddenly realised that the tester’s job was to inform others to help them make that critical ship/don’t ship decision.

    What gave me this understanding was the discovery that although I felt uncomfortable about shipping the product, others were prepared to accept the risks because they had access to different business reports than me; reports that I have no need to access but that were critical to the decision.

    I learned then that generally speaking a decision to release or not is a complex business decision and should be left in the hands of people with the business and commercial knowledge to make that decision. In many organisations testers are unlikely to be in possession of that knowledge.

    Thank you again.

  31. […] first time presenting this session since crafting this enlightening blog post by the same name,“Testers: Get Out of the Quality Assurance Business”. There has been a fair amount of conversation generated on Michael’s blog and Twitter since […]

  32. J. Meerts says:

    Who started mixing up these entirely different organisational bodies?

    Well, you’re the historian. 🙂 (For those who don’t know, Joris has developed a list of milestones in testing; http://www.testingreferences.com/testinghistory.php)

    Software testers test the software product, QA tries to control the software development process. Product vs process, clear distinction, different goals, different mindset, end of discussion.

    With respect to testing, what does it mean to you to test the product? Many people and organizations are confused about this. For example, in some organizations, there are stages in developing a product, including a “development phase” and a “testing phase”. What are the programmers doing during the “development phase”? Developing the product. What are the testers doing? They’re testing. In the “testing phase”, what are the programmers doing? They’re fixing the product. What are the testers doing? Testing. So it seems to me, the two phases aren’t differentiated by testing; they’re differentiated by developing vs. fixing. This suggests to me that at some point, people in that organization have conflated the ideas of testing and fixing. In other places, testing is seen as a bureaucratic, clerical comp In order for people to clear the fog in their heads about testing, we’re going to have to talk about stuff like this. I don’t think we’re anywhere near the end of the discussion.

    With respect to “QA tries to control the software development process”… well, you can see the problems there, right? In a development organization, there’s already a role that’s responsible for managing the project. We usually call that “management”. Most programmers I’ve met don’t like being controlled at all, although they might tolerate being managed by their managers. When a third party (typically a tester, typically someone who has worked neither as a programmer nor as a manager) tries to control the project or tries to impose process, that person is either taking on or usurping a role that properly belongs to management. Such people—those who have neither the experience nor the authority to control the process—are usually tolerated and ignored at best. At worst, they’re considered “damage to be routed around” (I think Cem Kaner said that once, echoing someone’s description of censorship on the Internet), and routed around they will be. That’s pernicious if you’re also a tester, because it’s unlikely that you’ll want to do anything to disrupt the flow of information to you and around you.

    In any case, as long as testers are called “QA” (or somewhat worse, call themselves “QA”) elements of confusion will remain.

  33. Petteri Lyytinen says:

    Excellent post, but there is a small defect there: The one link that I clicked, in order to read more, is broken – gave me a 404. 🙂

    Here’s the line with the broken link:

    * Don’t bend to pressure to become a commodity. Certification means that you’re spending money to become indistinguishable from a hundred thousand other people. Make your own mark.

    Thank you very much; fixed.

  34. banovotz says:

    I was software tester for at least 3 years with only vaguely being aware of the term Quality Assurance as equivalent term for software testing. Similarly so, years ago I was only vaguely aware of the term developer which is today most commonly applied to people who do software programming.

    Yes, it is. And yet isn’t someone who is in the business of analyzing requirements and providing requirements documents to the team also a developer? Isn’t someone who develops designs and graphics for the look and feel of the program also a developer? By that measure, isn’t a tester a developer too?

    By the same token, isn’t someone who writes code in quality assurance? Someone who provides equipment and tools to the programmers, or who removes obstacles for the programmer—isn’t that person in quality assurance? Are the aforementioned graphics people in quality assurance?

    Testers are certainly not the only people in the development group who are doing activities that amount to quality assurance on some level. Indeed, since testers don’t have authority over the code, the project, or the project, testers don’t assure quality. Our role is to help the programmers and product owners—the people who can assure quality.

    By the same token, programmers aren’t the only people who are doing development work. Testers are developing knowledge and information about the product. While we’re not adding things to the product directly, we’re certainly adding things to the system of the product.

    So, irrespective of what else happens, it would be well (in my view) for testers and everyone else alike not to grab a title or a role with the subtle suggestion that no one else is performing that role.

    I think both terms “quality assurance” and “development” got into the play because “tester” and “programmer” felt inadequate.

    Perhaps. Inadequate to whom? For what purpose?

    Programmers are not just programming but developing solutions. At least in companies who cannot afford to have people who just irresponsibly write code. Testers are not just testing (this especially sounds offending if testing is translated as checking), but finding and disclosing valuable quality related information. At least in companies that cannot afford to have ceremonial testers.

    Since customers, stakeholders, CEOs (generally, the one who pay money) are interested mostly in quality solutions it’s not strange that those “new” terms gain popularity not only because those are cool terms. However, while we can agree that (at least some) developers are indeed developing, seems there is no agreement that testers are indeed assuring quality. Especially there are lot unwillingness to go with the term “assurance” as in this article.

    That unwillingness is, to me, quite reasonable because testers are not assuring quality. They are providing information to those who can. Again, it’s an issue of who has the authority to make decisions about the product and the project. We don’t have that authority, nor should we—no more than the suit salesman has the authority to tell you what you’ll be buying today.

    But, what is with “quality” itself? Seems that the understanding of the term “quality” went through great deal of changes. We certainly do not speak about Aristotelian attribute or property of a being. More likely term aims to “best quality” as some hypothetical goal. But, what is “best quality?” Is this determined by subjective feeling of CEO or objective fact? Who is to determine the objective fact?

    Why do you believe that a determination of objective fact is desirable when no one is obliged to consider it a fact? We don’t make decisions based on rationality alone; indeed, rationality itself is greatly determined by what we value. Aristotle himself talks about this with respect to the measurement problem in The Nicomachaean Ethics. There are measurements of one kind (“two pounds of meat”), but there are also measurements of “too much, too little, or just right”, he says. Measurements of the first kind can inform decisions of the second, but when we determine whether we’ve eaten too much, that’s a feeling, not a fact. In addition, that fact is laden with many dimensions of what we might value. On the face of it, half a scoop of ice cream doesn’t sound like too much, does it? Yet, half a scoop of ice cream might seem like too much when I’m on a diet or if I’m intolerant of lactose. Half a scoop of ice cream might seem too much to me when I take it all and my daughter doesn’t get any. Half a scoop of ice cream might be too much when it’s on my shirt, instead of in a bowl. Quality can’t be evaluated outside a context, and people are the most important factor in any context.

    Quality is value to some person. It is futile to talk about (or, for that matter, to even attempt to assure) quality without considering it a relationship between someone and something. For that reason, it is absolutely the CEO’s subjective feeling (informed by what (s)he considers to be matters of fact) that determines the decisions that (s)he makes and delegates.

    Thank you for continuing the conversation.

  35. My Reply to Michael Bolton, Thanks for the Challenge! | Testing the Tester says:

    […] to James’ challenge on another post. So now I have a challenge for you: what do you think of this post versus yours (that is, the one upon which I’m […]

    Alas, now a broken link. —MB

  36. […] your clients. Before proudly certifying the product for quality, which is not your job anyhow (Read post), be a tester […]

  37. […] CEOs and sales teams to wonder, “What are those testers doing all day? Why aren’t they assuring quality?” Note that this reaction is precisely the survivorship bias I mentioned above. The error […]

  38. […] heard from Lynn McKee recently that Michael Bolton has a ready answer when asked to estimate testing time: “Tell me what all the bugs will be, […]

  39. […] out which one is better. Michael Bolton wrote an article on this very topic (check out his blog post). Now, Eurostar have setup a webinar for Michael to present his opinions about QA and testing. […]

  40. Testers: get out of the QA business! – Brian Heys - software testing consultant/contractor says:

    […] Read this post on developsense.com. This entry was written by Brian, posted on 10 May 2010 at 7:00 am, filed under Curated, Software testing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Do it or document it? The importance of being independent » […]

  41. […] made me think that James had just misread achieve for assure. I am very much aware of the QA discussion about assuring/assisting. When one is dug into that context as James is, I actually believe that a misinterpretation of […]

  42. Because You’re Worth It… « Pro-testing says:

    […] is to try and help close down those communication gaps by pointing them out to people. Is that quality assistance? Tagged as: criticism, James Bach, marketing, testing Leave a comment Comments (0) Trackbacks […]

  43. The Testing Rat Pack » Blog Archive » What does it mean to be a software tester? says:

    […] 1. Software Testing is not synonymous with Quality Assurance […]

  44. […] message got me thinking about Michael Bolton’s blog post called “Tester’s Get Out of the Quality Assurance Business”. A statement saying that a person, process, action, or thing can ‘ensure quality’ is a […]

  45. […] whether to fix or not is made by project authorities, and, as Michael Bolton says, testers should get out of the quality assurance business. Though I’ve seen how decisions on quality (well, assuming that fixing bugs helps improving […]

  46. […] team member? Can all team members be equally responsible for quality? As Michael Bolton contends, testers do not assure quality. Do testers hire the programmers? Fix problems in the code? Design the product? Set the schedule? […]

  47. Liz says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, it clarified a lot of what I was feeling but had trouble articulating.
    To take it a step further, at my company the use of “QA” as interchangeable with “testing” is so bad that sentences such as, “who will be QAing?” is used without thought.

    Michael replies: Yes. Treating language that way should be banned under the Geneva Conventions.

    Reading your article has motivated me to get this put right!

    Thanks!

  48. […] Testers: Get Out of the Quality Assurance Business […]

  49. After read this article for software testers from this blog …I learn’t so much good and reelvant information for quality assurance …Thnaks a lot !!

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