How Testers Can Keep a Positive Outlook in a Negative Job
Certain jobs inherently have a reputation for being negative. Software testers fall into this category because they’re always looking to see how to break the software, what issues exist, and how to catch defects early on. While the goal is constructive—to deliver an exceptional product to end-users—the means of getting there involves a questioning, critical mindset, which is often construed as being a devil’s advocate.
Everyone understands the power of positive thinking, including the physical and psychological benefits of such a shift in thought process. So how should testers manage their jobs, which at their core call for a pessimistic thought process in its journey to reach the goal?
Organizations are taking huge strides in maintaining the yin and yang of outlooks in offices and among employees, aiming to strike a positive balance from all aspects of operations. Special sessions are being arranged by business and spiritual leaders to coach teams on a path to mind-body balance and an overall environment of positive energy.
There are additional things testers can do to maintain this positive vibe, even though their role calls for negative thinking and they may be perceived in a negative light by their colleagues. Here are some ideas.
- Stay clear on the overall goal of quality that aligns with business and user needs
- Keep realistic parameters around cost and time
- Act as enablers of quality, instead of gates or bottlenecks
- Integrate quality into the CI/CD pipeline to ensure developers use tests to perform self-sanity checks
- Acknowledge work well done, small and large, both at individual and team levels, including areas of good health in dashboards and reports
- Optimize quality activities to align with realistic needs, such as analytics-based optimization of test execution efforts
- Conduct group exploratory bug bashes
- Partake in not just finding the problem but also identifying the cause, thereby being a part of the overall solution
- Take time to collaborate with the entire team, share ideas, and build a strong bond
- Learn from mistakes—even missed bugs
- Learn to be the devil’s advocate for software quality without being mean or pessimistic about it
It’s all about decoupling the negativity your role brings from who you are as an individual. This is easier said than done, but it’s important. My doctor shared this tip: Try resetting your thought process at the end of each day so you can have a fresh start the next day. She sees hundreds of patients every day, so this reset is important for her to feel energized again and able to spread positivity.
It is easy to be negative when it seems like you’re always the bearer of bad news. But instead, try to be cognizant of these feelings and aim to enjoy your role, bond with your team, and share the joy of a viable product with users. Testers are a valuable part of the team, so stay positive!