And by excellent I mean, productive, professional and effective.
An excellent tester:
Concentrates on finding the Priority 1 and 2 bugs -the really awful bugs: crashes, hangs and feature failures. (Vettanna trained testers typically find 5 times more than the average tester).
Communicates clearly and doesn’t play “bug badminton”. “What is bug badminton?” You know it, it happens everyday in your company and the cost is frightening. A tester finds a bug — the engineer can’t reproduce it so they send it back — sometimes over and over again. (You can do the math of x minutes of an engineers hourly rate plus y minutes of a testers hourly rate…but it’s more than that! It’s also the cost of what the tester is not off finding and what the engineer is not off fixing while they spend the time to bat this bug back and forth).
Colors outside the lines. Some testers just run test cases (and technically, that’s good) but excellent testers engage their brain. They question the software and the test case and they think like “joe user” thinks – not just how the Requirements Document and Specification Writers think.
Knows the process so they can come up to speed quickly and concentrate on finding cool, evil bugs.
Finally, excellent testers make their manager’s job easier. What? How do they do that? They know how and what to communicate (clearly, concisely and completely) about what they are planning to test and what they have and have not tested. They also think of their job (and QA) as a business system – what are the inputs we need to do an excellent job and what our the outputs out “clients” (other team members) need to do an excellent job. This minimizes the manager’s job of handling skirmishes from other team members and management! Ahhh, that’s a relief for any manager!
What else sets an excellent tester apart from the pack?
Test on, mighty testers, test on!