There have been many discussion around ‘thinking tester’ in the recent times. It was the main topic of CAST 2012. Some other conferences also talked about ‘thinking testers’ lately. 

Then there were talks about ethics of testing. It was the topic of 2nd Kiwi Workshop on Software Testing. James (Bach) also wrote a post about ethics on his blog. Read more at

So the focus gradually has moved or moving towards ethics in testing. I believe this is something which has been raised by other bloggers before too. There are testing bloggers who strongly condemned the testers who wither fake their experience or hide information so as to get a job or to get a promotion. One of the bloggers, I think it was Pradeep, even suggested that these people should be punished severely. While I do not entirely agree with the approach of dealing with such people, I agree that the question of ethics is much bigger that we imagine.

Everyone makes mistakes. I have made mistakes and I have accepted those. It has always saved me from trouble. Personally I wouldn’t call that unethical that one committed a mistake unknowingly. But making a mistake on purpose, deliberately, knowingly, is unethical. Hiding information to gain something is unethical.

Right when I was reading all those posts and pondering over James’ personal ethical code, a colleague (you know one of those gossip mongers), informed me and another manager that one of the leads was caught fudging test reports. For some reason, all these gossips start with a condition of anonymity,’Hey, I am telling you this, but please don’t tell it to anyone else.”

In this incident, it was a contract Test Lead who compelled his team to report incorrect progress of testing and show incorrect bug count. We have almost outsourced all of testing stuff to testing service providers. When I thought about this issue, I could see that it is just not related to one unethical tester. It might be one of the side effects of outsourcing. This test lead and the testers involved, all worked for the same outsourcing partner company.

The question is, did they do it just to look good on testing progress or they did it because they were incapable of testing what was asked them to test. As a client company, we took an action. But the question of ethics does seem much bigger to me yet!