Software Testing is a People Problem

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In this clip from an interview at the SmartBear office, Keith Klain, COO at Doran Jones, explains why it’s important to understand the “people” side of testing, and how he, as a manager, tries to get people to approach the massive complexity — and mathematical impossibility — of completely testing a piece of software.

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Video Transcript

So, you know, I, you know, people say, “What’s that line from the movie?” You know, you stereotype because it’s more efficient. So, I tend to find myself putting things into, “you’re either like this or you’re like that.” And when I see people who are successful in software testing, they kind of fall into two camps.

The head of the of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, talks about the cosmic awareness and your ego. And you can look at software test as this massively complex, overwhelming mass of stuff — you know, the mathematical impossibility of complete testing. And some people let that weigh on them and it can be fairly miserable. And a lot of testers are overly negative and combative and they’re only a deconstructive process in the constructive world of software development. And they let that affect them in a very negative way.

I find the people who are most successful, or stick with it the most, are the ones who look at that same complexity and are energized by it and see that that doesn’t make them small, but really big. And there’s some great analogies in there with understanding the universe and how people work.

I quote my friend and colleague James Bach a lot on this, where he says that software, our problem, is really about… it’s a people problem. And, you know, people don’t like the squishy, messy part we call “people.” You know what I mean? And that’s really what we’re solving.

And I think, the folks who are successful, and stick with it the longest, and derive some joy from it get that side of it. I try and spend as much as my time with those people, but also trying to inspire people to look at this problem differently so they can get to that same place.



  1. You may be right but only for some people because each person is not ready to test software and consider it is his or her problem.

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