Is it just me or do you get this feeling too?

January 5th, 2016 by Bill Echlin

One of the stand out moments in 2015 has to be the high profile fall out in one of the biggest sports in the world. A fall out between one of the most successful partnerships of all time in Formula 1. A fall out that had many parallels with the way testers are treated in our industry.

The Chairman of Renault, Carlso Ghosn, stated publicly that he wanted to sever ties with Red Bull. One of the most successful F1 partnerships of all time, Red Bull and Renault, fell out. Why?

Carlso explained that…

“Unfortunately when we were winning championships the Renault name was never mentioned. It was the [Red Bull] team that was winning”.

And when things weren’t going so well….

“….some of the teams using our engine did not fare well, and the reasons for which they are not performing became the engine.”

Maybe it was the engine. Maybe it wasn’t. Yet when….

“….you are in the game, when you perform very well you are never mentioned, and when there is a problem with the team you are the first guy to be pointed at.”

I felt for this guy. I’ve been there. I’m guessing, as a tester, you’ve been there too.

No one questions the fact that to succeed in the software development world you need good testers. When things go well we rarely get any credit. Yet, when things go wrong it’s the testers that usually take the flak.

“Why didn’t you spot that issue before we went live? We’re paying you to pick these issues up before it’s too late!”

When things go well how much recognition do we get? We didn’t actually build anything that the company could sell. We didn’t contribute to helping a project meet it’s deadlines. In fact it probably looks like we were there contributing to missing the targets.

We just managed the testing and contributed to some nebulous concept called quality. Kind of like that F1 engine. It’s out of sight. You can’t see it. Few people outside the team talk about it. When it goes wrong though – all hell breaks lose.

When things go well ….. no one mentions us. When things go wrong we’re there to blame.

Is it just me or do you get this feeling too?

It’s understandable that sometimes we’ll feel like odd balls sitting on the side line. After all we’re sitting there picking faults with everything we see. Just that picking up those faults is quite important. What we produce is never seen by the end customer. Yet it’s what’s not seen that makes the difference. Much the same as that engine hidden from view in a Formula 1 car.

With the best teams, when things are working well, you feel included. You’re made to feel like you’re part of the reason for the success. You’re complimented for your contribution. People outside of the team are even made aware of your critical contribution.

It’s a defining mark of a great team. When the team does well everyone gets a mention. And that means the test team get mentioned too….. even if we are hidden from view!

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