Do testers make developers sloppy?

August 11, 2022
Don't blame the devs, or the testers. Blame the bad system.

I recently saw the claim on social media that testers make developers sloppy.

I immediately understood the claim, as it’s in fact similar (but not the same) to something I’ve even said before. But it’s wrong in a very important, and fundamental way.

There’s some truth to the claim that manual regression testing often (perhaps even usually) makes developers “sloppy”. I’ve written indirectly about this before, for example, when I said that continuous delivery increases developer responsibility. So the converse of that would be that not doing CD gives developers less of a sense of responsibility. I’ve certainly experienced that myself (as a dev). It’s easy to think “Oh, this will be tested later, so I don’t need to be very thorough right now.”

But that’s really not at all the same as saying testers make developers sloppy.

This phrasing puts the blame on testers. Testers are not to blame for a bad system.

A bad system will beat a good person every time.
— W. Edwards Deming

Instead of blaming the devs for being sloppy, or testers for making them sloppy, let’s work on fixing the system that allows devs to be sloppy. Instead, lets put a system in place where both devs and testers can be as successful as possible!

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