Track Talk W11

The Tester as Mediator

Manfred Baumgartner

13:45-14:30 CEST Wednesday 14th June

In my career as a software tester and test manager, I have felt in many situations like a mediator between parties who don’t understand each other. On the one hand, there are the users, or the representatives of the customer side. They know exactly what they want, but often cannot formulate it clearly and stably enough. Moreover, they already have clear ideas about the “how” – regardless of feasibility and effort. On the other hand, there are the developers who already have a clear idea of how to implement an unclear requirement. This is possible because they have been working on the applications for a long time, and know the business better than the business professionals themselves. The developers also react allergically when the customer tries to interfere with the “how”, which the customer – in the eyes of the developers – knows nothing about.

It’s precisely in this area of tension that as a test engineer I have often found myself trying – admittedly more in the interest of the user – to create clear communication and constructive cooperation. It was a matter of getting to the point of content and creating an understanding of feasibility.

I also learned a lot in situations where I was able to accompany users directly on site during the introduction of new applications. I wish everyone who works on the development of software could have that positive experience.

Based on concrete experiences from these situations, I will discuss what responsibility we have for the user, how we can better use the potential of cooperation with the customer, and how we as test engineers can build a special kind of relationship with our customers, and our development colleagues.