Englische BlogsValidation and Verification

Psychology of Testers

Validation and Verification

What is the Psychology of Testers? What qualities characterize good people working in the testing area? Well, you can define some criteria: expertise- and methods know-how are sure essential characteristics. In addition, they must have management skills and bring social skills. These are certainly necessary skills. However, it is missing an important point that I want to explain further in this blog: Who wants to be a master in the test area, must also be constructive and destructive!

Psychology of Testers

Constructive and destructive – that is first and foremost a implausible, contradictory combination. So we put ourselves in the role of the tester. He has ideally the requirements for the product in writing that he should test. Usually that means he has a requirement in natural language in front of him. This also necessarily means that there is room for interpretation, as there are very few requirements in natural language, which can not be interpreted. This also applies for very well-written requirements! The problem here lies in the use of natural language. Depending on your personal background, life experience, etc. we are interpreting a lot of words differently.
The tester has now this interpretable Requirement as the basis of his next steps. What is his job? Well, he should demonstrate with a test that this requirement is satisfied, or is not satisfied. He will certainly begin, first of all to test the content of the obvious aspects of the requirement.
The very good tester considers the negation of the requirement. Is there another requirement, or this is an open point? Accordingly, he designs for test cases. The same applies to border areas of the function described in requirement or to not obvious combinations of signals.

Also a tester in laboratory not only looks to be expected test result, but he also observes critical side effects that arise during the test, but which are not in direct focus of the actual test case. To do all that the tester must have a certain destructive streak. This means he has the will and the goal (!) to find failures in the system to be tested.
On the other hand if we consider the very high complexity of modern embedded systems and if we know that software now accounts for a very large share in these systems, than is also evident that there is ultimately no system that is completely free of errors.
To master all this challenges the Tester also requires a constructive side. The very good tester is able to weigh between real problems that he has to pass on and rather insignificant misbehavior of the system that does not need to be followed up. The tester must work constructively when to it has to be decided to start a test session. How mature must be the specification? It will never be perfect, so it needs even here the constructive consideration. Mind you, this is true even if all the requirements and test specifications tend to be perfect. Even in this case here are still things that need to be interpreted over and over again.


The very good tester can differ, when he have to be constructive and when he can be destructive. Often it is said, that developers of systems have to be constructive, i.e they have in their childhood built in the sandbox sandcastles rather than destroyed it. Following this logic, the tester has rather destroyed the sand castles.
My conclusion of this blog is that the really good tester actually needed both. Surely he must be happy to destroy sandcastles. But really good he is only when he recognizes the time in which he would rather build the sandcastle. The developer of systems certainly needs more the willingness to build sand castles, i.e. he need more often the constructive side. He is accordingly also a very good developer, if he is able to recognize, at which point in time he need to destroy the sand castle.

I’ll be glad to help you also with any specific questions about your project . Send an email to: martin.heininger [at] heicon-ulm.de
An overview of the services can also be found on the HEICON Homepage.

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