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When cooperation becomes contempt (Benjamin Yaroch's Blog)

On December 12, 2013, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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As a tester, I provide a service to the projects I work on. I help my stakeholders (developers, project managers, customers) by gathering important information about the product and reporting it. Often this information isn’t positive because I am highlighting things that could reduce the value of the product. Even so typically my work is perceived as a benefit to the project; however at times that perception can flip to one of hindrance.

This is especially true when time is short and pressure is high. When this happens my stakeholders can move from cooperation to contempt. Suddenly the information I’m providing is no longer welcomed, which makes for an interesting dilemma. If my  feedback is no longer welcomed am I still providing a valuable service to my stakeholders and this project? If it isn’t welcomed should I still provide it? How do I get back to being seen as benefit and re-inspire cooperation?

Over the years I’ve found that there is a very fine line between cooperation and contempt during stressful times and I’ve struggled with this. On one hand I’m tasked with discovering important information but on the other hand the project is horribly delayed and each new thing I find jeopardizes shipping the product on time.

Regardless the climate we testers have a responsibility to highlight both good and not so good information about the product. We should strive for cooperation but we must be ready to steer around contempt. We must avoid the temptation of withholding or not seeking out information about the software because regardless the state of the project the information we discover is still valuable. In the end we need to stay focused on whats important which is information gathering and realize that stressful times are often short lived.

While our stakeholders may not be happy with what they are hearing now they are often far less happy hearing it from the field later.

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