Can Testers Make a Difference? A thought inspired by Google’s “Testing on the Toilet”.

One of my favorite presentations of the whole conference, happened on day 4 regarding Google’s “Testing on the Toilet” keynote. In the testing world this is a pretty popular story, but just in case you haven’t read about it already, here is a link to read.

The idea here is that anyone in an organization can make a difference. It is a common misconception that Testers are an after thought in the development process and only are there to reassure that “Quality” is a term lightly used and rarely influenced. But the real question to ask is, “Why is this so, and How can I(the tester) make a difference?”

Now not every corporate world is the same, so there is no sure fire way to guarantee your message will be heard, and quality will be enforced, practiced, or even noticed. However that does not mean it is not your responsibility to make a change. Here is a few idea’s that a tester can use to inspire ones self to make a difference.

  • Start a Quality Control Group
    • Rally up the testers, developers, PO’s, Analysts, Marketing or anyone who believes your vision for Quality and wants to move forward to achieving something that everyone can be proud of, and start a forum, whether it be a weekly, month, after work, or on-line meeting where you can brainstorm as a Quality Focused Team to help improve the current process.
      • Internal Quality Group
        • This focuses on a group within the company, improving the specific processes and figuring out ways to apply this focus on Quality to your individual project/companies projects. This allows for more specific discussions to occur without violating any industry secrets or confidentiality agreements.
      • External Quality Group
        • This focuses on a group of fellow peers in your local/regionally area that get together and brainstorm on how to improve the industry/field as a whole without necessarily revealing any company kept secrets. This is a great way to see how your peers handle certain scenarios that you may of otherwise been unable to visualize due to the nature of your work environment.
  • Let it be Heard!
    • Create a Blog
      • Create away for people to access and discuss your idea’s. Web 2.0 is a great way of communicating outside of your immediate area. Utilize these tools to put your thoughts into words and let the world contribute to your ideas.
    • Contribute to existing Forums, Blogs, and Communities
      • You don’t have to be a leader to make a difference. Contributions are what make up any and all changes. Just being apart of the discussion can stimulate new ideas and become a catalyst for change. This is a great opportunity to use existing forums to ask questions, give answers, and learn more about all varying types of topics and how they may relate to you.
    • Create a newsletter
      You may have idea’s that the rest of peers may not even be aware of. You may be a senior tester yet have no way to distribute your knowledge to the rest of the team/organization/ or even community. By creating a newsletter you can sum up some of your basic ideas and even use it as away to train. Start with a single page, outlining some new feature or test method, give an example on how to implement it, and then follow up with some commonly asked Q&A’s. Send it out to your peers and than ask around for feedback. Others may like to contribute, and in time your readers will become participants and a community will be formed.

      • “Inspired by Google” – Post in the bathroom, post it in the cafeteria, post it under the build status. Put it where it will be allowed and if its not allowed anywhere, make your case to management that these methods have been used, applied and found very successful.

Now go out and make a difference! And just remember don’t stop until you do, not every idea may be right for you, and it will take effort to see it through, but the end result will be a better way, and you will be the reason for it.


One thought on “Can Testers Make a Difference? A thought inspired by Google’s “Testing on the Toilet”.

  1. David says:

    Hi Chris,

    If you are running an Agile project, I think the testers *have* to make a difference. If they do not, then the project isn’t being Agile. The methodology relies on the ongoing testing of the sprinted components. The testers should be the ‘vital few!’


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