Credibility is the only thing you got as a tester.  When you lose it, then you might as well hang up your test hat.  Credibility is the only test tool that you have in your arsenal that really matters. You can use it as your QA weapon when you demand that a bug needs to get fixed in a product before it reaches customers.  Managers and developers will listen to you if you have credibility.  They might even take your advice.  No matter what happens though, don’t lose your credibility as a tester because, if you do lose it, then everything you try to achieve afterwards is under suspicion.  Some evil developers will use this against you in order to make themselves look better by discrediting any bug that file.  You really have no defense against this sort of behavior.

Credibility starts with the trustworthiness of your test tools.  If the test tool is flawed, like generating erroneous results, then you have a serious problem if not caught immediately.  It’s embarrassing to have a developer tell you that they found a bug in your test code.  Even if you didn’t write the test tool yourself, you are still guilty by association or as an accessory to the crime.

I am writing this because this very thing happened to me not too long ago, and not just once, but four times with different tools in a matter of days.  In all cases, it wasn’t my fault since I didn’t build the tools.  It didn’t matter though because I used the defective tools and disseminated the results with my signature on them.  For 12 years, I have prided myself on my credibility and I still do.  The quality assurance process for test tool development or lack thereof is what caused my grief recently.

This is why I stress the importance of building and leveraging tools that you can reliably trust.  Never trust code that is not peer reviewed and fully tested.  The tools I used were put into production before I started on the project.  When the developers told me about the bug in the test tool, I felt terrible.  I felt like I was doing a belly-flop naked in a pool of rusty razor blades—paraphrasing One More Minute, by Weird Al Yankovic.

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