Is there a difference between “Quality Analyst and Tester?”

I picked up this line from an ongoing Skype session. It got me thinking, because I also read some blogs that day about the “Test and Quality” subject.

Some statements I want to share.

My good friend and DEWT buddy Ruud Cox stated in his blog “Testing with STYLE” :

“Testers gather quality related information about a product or service on behalf of stakeholders.”

A good friend of mine in the test community Pete Walen stated in his blog “On Software Quality and Software Testing”  :

“Testing improves quality only if someone acts on what is learned from the testing.”

Adam Knight stated in his blog “A Map for Testability” :

“Testing is all about presenting information and raising awareness.”

Ash Winter stated in his blog “The name of the thing is not the thing” :

“Testing cannot assure quality, but it can give you information about quality.”

Looking at these statements, you can say that; A tester makes observations. A tester gathers information. A tester is questioning the product in order to evaluate it, learn from it. And I add to this, that a tester gives a recommendation and not an assurance. That is it. Period.

I see myself as a tester. My role in the team is that I test the product. I gather information of the product by means of my test ideas. Information is, that some functionality is working, but I also find things that are not correct. I compare the observation results with a requirement. For this, I log a defect and somebody else will investigate what is at stake. That somebody else is the actor who can read the gathered information and decide how to proceed. This person can decide to do nothing (it is not a problem, or the problem can be fixed later) or to make sure that problem gets solved by doing it himself or assign the task to another person.

The test-person is providing the information and the quality-person is acting on the information.

This is how we must look at it. Is it? Well, what about the following.

Recently I encountered some defects while doing some testing on certain features. It all came back to the same problem. The error handling on the input data is not handled properly. I stated to the architect and development team that incorrect input must be captured and a self-explanatory response must be replied back to the user. To be specific, I proposed the following to the team. For this input field, I want you to put the following constraint. This input field only allows a positive integer between 0 and the maximum integer value of this variable, i.e. 2147483647. All other input is rejected and the following response is replied back “wrong integer value for [Id] – only values between 0 and 2147483647 are allowed”.

So, I provided the information from the tests I did, but I also acted on the information with an improvement. Do I call myself a Tester? Do I call myself a Quality Analyst? I don’t know. What I know is that you can call me Simon.

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