Don’t Apologize – Celebrate That Defect!

Cool!  A Defect!
In the course of your testing, you inevitably observe an odd behavior or discover an error.  You know you have to report it but you also know the reaction may be unpleasant.  Regardless, I submit it is a chance to celebrate, to revel in your testing.  I’m not suggesting you gloat, but take a private minute to reward yourself, to appreciate the satisfaction of rewarding work.

When I was a developer, I stole moments to review code I just wrote, solutions I just implemented, or designs I just completed.  It was a way to reward myself for the time and energy I put into my work because I was satisfied with it, and, I must confess, had some pride in it.

As we know, testing is a little different.  There are not many occupations that have an independent feedback mechanism indicating the result of completed work.  There is feedback but perhaps none so immediate as that which the testing of a system reveals.

But, in spite of their great work, I see testers apologize for finding or hesitate to report a defect.  It could mean more work for someone, delays in the project, or another test of their credibility.  A defect could mean all of that and I invite you to celebrate it!  Celebrate that your project team will not suffer embarrassment of finding the defect in production, celebrate the time saved by working the defect now rather than after the project team has moved on, celebrate and welcome your time in the lime light – your time to learn something about the system you test, and something about yourself!

If the defect is invalid, celebrate what you learned and apply it to your testing.  If the defect is real, give yourself a private high five, an internal “YES!”, an introspective “I did that and I’m proud!”.

Change the Reaction
Defects are a natural part of developing a system so when I join a project team, I want to meet everyone.  I recommend all testers do the same.  By establishing rapport with everyone on the team, you give them an opportunity to know you BEFORE you provide them feedback on their work.
If your team is established, expand your relationships to improve rapport and collaboration.  Demonstrate that you are not about your defects; you are about working with the team deliver awesome products for your customers.

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