The Role of a Tester – What Noah and the Ark Can Teach Us

The theme of  EuroSTAR 2016 made me reflect more on the role of a tester. For testing professionals the topic of “learning to test, testing to learn” makes sense, since we already know that testing involves continuous learning about what is being built but for some other people this is not easily understandable. So, I came up with an explanation to the question ‘what is the role of a tester’ so that even a seven year old can understand. It is based on the famous story of Noah and the devastating flood.

One can imagine that Noah gave the following instructions to his shipbuilder sons: ‘soon there will be a devastating flood so we need an ark that is big enough to shelter two of each animal species on earth and our families’.

Building An Ark

When it comes to gathering all the animals of the earth into one place one should consider quite a few things not just the shapes and sizes, as the shipbuilders might have thought. Like the fact that male giraffes are taller than the females and they should both be able to go through the same vessel entrance. Or the fact that lions and antelopes should not be put close to one another.

One can imagine that the shipbuilders were advised by a girl who would know many things about animals if two animals can have spaces next to each other or not. Or, if the shipbuilders needed to check if an elephant fits into a space, a boy would help and arrange some stones so the stones would match the shape and size of the animal. Of course the shipbuilders could not have known and done these, because they were too busy building the ship.

Role Of A Tester

So, whenever something is built, whether if it is a ship or a software, there has to be someone that is focused on the hidden details of the requirements and who constantly learns new things, like the girl in the story or someone that can check if it works without having the real environment available, like the boy. And these are, in fact, the key attributes of a tester. They make the role of a tester invaluable to any development team.

About the Author

Andrei Domuta

Since my Master in Science graduation I have been working in the Software Testing field for projects varying from desktop applications to web platforms in both outsourcing and insourcing environments. I have been working for large companies like Siemens or Mozilla but also for medium-sized ones like Liverail (a Facebook company) or start-ups like q-leap. I’d love to have a chat on any topic related to testing and QA, so please don't hesitate to leave me a message. Cheers!
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