Dont love your product too much, rather hate it

As software testers, we have to find faults in our own creations. Even though its lot of fun and a lot more sadistic pleasure to send a RED report every week to management on how buggy our own software is,  we can’t be holding on to  it till eternity. This is more of a problem for software managers like me then what I was few years back, a Test engineer. Somehow it never occurred to me as a Test Engineer that all my RED reports are actually not a good news to my manager and nor to company in general.

So as we like it or not, there is a time when there are very few bugs which deem a fix and we have to ship the product. Once a version is shipped, the whole game reverses. The same shortcomings which looked so much on the face are now ‘Known Issues’ or ‘Cosmetic’ and suddenly the average test engineer Mr. Joe starts to take full ownership, the same feature which he scoffed at since it was sort of developed by someone else is now something which he blessed. Any fault which gets reported later is looked at with suspicion and an explanation is tried then gladly logging them in the ‘Bug Reporting System’. Over time, the whole problem of maths-n-science and of finding logical bugs becomes a OB (Organizational Behavior) and psychology thing. What is now happening is that a tester has started to love his product too much and not able to see faults.

This usually happens with shipped versions and not the ones which are being tested, this is mostly seen in scenarios when someone outside of team is involved in a discussion about a certain feature ‘s faults and usually these discussions are not a pleasant one. The acts of defending it and re-defending gradually starts to get in the blood and before Joe realizes it, it starts to seep in his behavior, even for currently under-developed software as well. To give you an example, all software has certain new features and rest of it are all old things. If someone raises a query about an old feature and challenges the design then Joe’s first response is in its defence. Look back and think it over to see whether you do the same.

Joe is no longer the real test engineer if was at one point of time and if you don’t check this, he would never be.

What Joe is going through is very natural but it has a negative business impact and needs to be corrected. Joe is in love of his product. Dont love your product, especially when you are a Test Engineer on that product, rather hate it. This is easier said then done, infact its very difficult to do. I am yet to see a CEO who tells his engineer to not love their company’s products. Everyone is supposed to love their products, if you are not in love then from where the passion would come. I am challenging that thought because that passion of love is making you blind towards faults. Someone has aptly said that love is blind. No one needs a blind test engineer.

Without making it too long, my suggestion would be to be neutral or go a little towards hate side. Find faults and find more faults. All of us know that there is always one more bug, so go and find that. Dont love your product, find enough faults to give you a reason to hate it.

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