With the increase of test automation, let’s not forget the importance of manual testers. No matter how advanced test automation becomes, we will always have a need for manual testers. As someone who worked in software QA, I know how important good manual QA resources are. They can be the difference maker on a project. Here are 5 attributes that make up the best manual software testers:
- They are technical – Just because they are not writing code does not mean they are not technical. The best QA analysts are technical.The more technical they are, the better. They have no problem digging through logs, working with XML and using SQL. SQL is a software QA analysts best friend. Before they throw defects over the fence to dev, they do their due diligence to pinpoint the root cause.
- They log clear defects – It takes time to log clear defects. This is when QA needs to partner with dev and provide dev with as much helpful information as possible. A defect not written well will say something like “login is not working”. A well written defect provides a clear description, screenshots and steps to reproduce. If available, error or log information will also be in the defect.
- They take ownership and drive resolution – Testers run into many road blocks. Data, environment, and configuration problems happen all the time in test environments. Average QA analysts will give up when they hit a snag. They will look to the project manager or someone else to get things unstuck. The best QA analysts will take ownership of the issue and drive resolution. Whether they have to track people down or escalate, they get things resolved.
- They emphasize end to end testing – It’s easy for testers to focus only on their application. It’s harder to analyze all the system impacts of a code change and perform a full integration test. The best QA analysts want to test the full end to end user experience.
- They won’t compromise on quality– Software testing is tough work. The testers are usually under a lot of pressure to complete their testing. Team leads and project managers breath down their neck and put the heat on. Particularly in the traditional waterfall SDLC, testers get the short end of the stick. Under this type of pressure, there is temptation to cut quality to appease project leads. The best testers will never do this. No matter how much pressure they face, they will not put their stamp of approval until they feel code is ready. They take pride in their quality standards, which is what makes them the best.