I have and follow my code of ethics in software testing, do you? My code is simple – I ever do only things that would let me be proud of what I’ve done. Perhaps everyone does so. So I decided to go into a little bit more details here because for me the ethics means that I am ready to (and I did a few times)  say NO to my boss or my customer if I don’t believe I could be proud about the results.

So reasons why I refuse to my boss, or my customer doing some tasks or even participating some projects is because I would never be:

  • Writing a report or other document that would lie or assert unfounded allegation (i.e. doing conclusion about quality when we have not done enough tests for me to feel the assertion is true)
  • Wasting my or other team member’s time by doing meaningless tasks (including both – doing wrong tests and doing too much documentation of those tests)
  • Doing a tasks that completely mismatch my skill-set (the exception is when the goal is to learn/practice a skills) and I feel like wasting customer’s money (because a guy next to me would do it twice as fast and twice as good and he is twice as cheap resource)

Working extra hours or doing brainless simple tasks on a permanent basis (because this would damage my ability to do good job)

On the other hand I’m fine with:

  • Hiding special information from any of the stakeholders, when I see how revealing the information could harm either my customer or end user
  • Temporarily doing brainless tasks that has high value
  • Doing tasks that seems meaningless to me but meaningful to my customer (though I would will make sure to inform customer my motivation will be low)
  • Doing tasks that seems low value (or low efficiency) to me, but would help my stakeholders realize how good the job I’ve done otherwise (for example doing extra documentation or otherwise presenting the testing I’ve done)


More details on one of the ethically tricky aspect - hiding bugs from my stakeholders I’ve blogged about it already .

I wanted to write this down for years. Special thanks to Martijn de Vrieze for this blog post  that provoked/reminded me to do so

P.S. An illustration

I almost declined participating one project when I realized that the only acceptance criteria for test documentation that customer have put is accordance to IEEE standard! But after a short consideration I accepted because it was my first (and hopefully the only) experience with test documentation according to IEEE – I wanted to better understand the standard to be able to criticize it better and maybe even suggest a better standard or decide for myself that no standard is reasonable at all.

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Comment by martijndevrieze on February 12, 2012 at 18:45

Ainars, thanks for the credits of provoking you to write it. My post was mainly inspired on frustration and not understanding certain things. Your idea of spreading your own code of ethics however is very inspiring to me again to do a follow up in which I will do a similar thing as you did above. So already, before I have even written the first letter of it, many thanks for giving me an inspiration for making my own code of ethics somewhat more explicit! :)


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