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"How should I respond as a developer if manual testing is assigned to me?"

2020-09-09

Originally published on Quora.

Employees in all kinds of roles are often called upon to do things that are outside their normal job description. Handling this with grace and trying to do the best you can with it makes you more valuable to the company than if you are inflexible and refuse; that’s probably obvious but merits mentioning.

Less obvious, perhaps, is the value you can bring to the company as a developer in that exercise. You are performing manual testing presumably because there is too much to be handled by the existing capacity. Can you see a way to automate some of this work to reduce the needed resources? What about splitting off some of the assertions among unit and integration tests to reduce the amount, or complexity, of the test cases? Does the existing automation codebase need work to make it more robust and easy for new developers to use? As a developer with an intimate knowledge of the codebase, you are in a perfect position to spot these possibilities, and raise concerns or make fixes as needed.

But even when we look outside the lens of what value the company gets, there is still value to you, as a developer. Pay attention to how it feels to be up at three in the morning executing manual test cases because the code came in at the last minute. Observe whether the performance or usability of the application makes the testing take longer than it needs to, or is more frustrating than it needs to be. Consider the bias and preconceived notions that made you feel like manual testing was beneath you, and reexamine those having been in a tester’s shoes.

Put differently: feel the pain of being a manual tester at crunch time, and use that experience to guide you to help out earlier and more often.