This post was inspired by a short Simon’s Sinek talk: How to Stop Holding Yourself Back.
The talk is excellent and to the point. It proves that if you focus on the obstacles – the only thing you’ll see is the obstacles – if you focus on the path – all you’ll see is the path.
I would adapt this thought into the software development world.
I am sometimes asked by managers or developers – why do we need testers anyway (and I precisely mean the role in the organization – not the act of testing) – we do have good developers, they can test their code.
For me – the major difference is in the mindset.
The example used by Simon Sinek in the talk is the skier sliding down the slope among the trees. The success of the skier depends on the fact if he follows the path on the snow or if he tells himself “don’t hit the tree”. In the first example – the only thing that he can see is plenty of snow and the road among the trees – whereas in the second example – he focuses on the threes only.
It may be similar to the project work.
Developers – when they create a piece of code – follow the path. They try hard to make their piece of art working. Sometimes, even if they test their code, they never see the obvious problems in the entire system.
On the other hand, software testers are those creatures, who focus on the obstacles. It is not even repeating “don’t hit the tree” – it’s the intentional crash every day. And I don’t only think of breaking the illusions about the code – but also asking general questions, looking for answers or tools, and improving the entire development process.
Of course, it’s possible to make the exchange sometimes and switch testing / developing roles, but I don’t believe it’s possible to do both at the same time or to achieve excellence and reliability in both.
That’s why we need developers AND testers. That’s why critical thinking is necessary for this job.
Can I say: “I like hitting the trees”? Sure I can! Do you?