As a bunch of us milled around at the end of the CAST 2012 conference held recently in San Jose, CA, a discussion broke out on what the major themes of this year’s event were. A number of well-articulated ideas were thrown around but the uneasiness that I had experienced through the entire event finally gave shape to what it was that bothered nay, dismayed me.
We were still discussing the same things that we did 20 years ago.
It was the same discussion about how to improve tester-developer relationships, and how to get developers to think more like testers and whether testers should be doing more automation development or <add_new_flavor_of_testing_here>. While I agree that some of the underlying issues haven’t changed (we are human after all), a significant amount of change has occurred around us that necessitates some introspection and rising above some of these (IMHO, less important) issues.
In the end, it should be all about the customer. The user. The end-user. The buyer. Anyone who is going to be using the software we have built and tested. It’s not about inter-personal relationships. It’s not about finding fault in someone’s code or someone’s interpretation of what your software should or should not do. It’s not about egos.
And I didn’t hear that. Not in a single session, discussion, workshop or keynote. While the entire body discussed what the characteristics of “The Thinking Tester” were, not one mention was made about anything customer-facing. We talked about processes and tools and methods and metrics and relationships galore. Those might be important to some folks but at the end of the day, I reiterate, it’s about the customer. We should be thinking about the customer above all else and asking simple and fundamental questions, and then patterning our daily work, processes, relationships and interactions based on them.
So ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my customer?
- Is this what the customer would want?
- Is this what they’d like?
- Will this make a difference to them?
- Will this cause them anguish?
- Are we doing right by this customer?
And let me know if this fundamentally changes the way you look at developing and testing software and helps you produce a better quality product that is useful, relevant and delights your customer.