What Drives Testers to Find Bugs
As testers, one of our core responsibilities is to find defects in the product under test and work with the rest of the team to get them fixed.
Defect management is often a reasonable measure against which a tester’s performance is evaluated. If we look at this objectively, what is it about defects that gets a tester excited?
Besides “defect finding” being part of the tester’s responsibility, there are several other angles to this. A tester is in general a curious person—he often loves solving puzzles. He is curious to see how things work, whether they would break, how they would break and under what circumstances, etc.
There could be several drivers that get testers excited to find bugs—even in products they don’t officially work on. It could be testers’ core curiosity, the self-motivation to get better at what they do, the excitement to have their names on the contribution list of this new product to be released, to win money or prizes—or it could be just for fun.
A lot of public bug bounty programs are picking up momentum lately, where like-minded testers in the industry join in to find defects. A partnership involving my company recently hosted one such corporate challenge, BugMania, that encouraged people to form teams and bring their own devices to test an application. The results were phenomenal: In one weekend, we had more than a hundred people show up to find defects.
With more online services at play, several organizations invite the general public to partake in bug bounty programs, which create a win-win situation: The organization’s product is improved, and the tester is able to make some extra money. For example, Twitter pays a minimum of $140 per security vulnerability that is exposed.
However, a tester has to be careful to not be swayed into mere bug finding and numbers associated with it. Junior testers can fall into this trap of thinking they are successful only if they find bugs and all of their bugs are fixed. This is a very incorrect notion that could impact their careers.
Testers need to learn to understand the larger context of the project and the information they bring to the table. The real benefit is that testers’ work helps the product team make release decisions based on the product’s quality. This flows into quality being an information service, rather than purely a bug-finding numbers game.
Once this maturity sets in, the drive to find bugs will have true meaning and will help not just the tester, but also the product under test.