Written by Jonny Steiner

I can already hear the responses. It sounds like hundreds of keyboards clacking in unison to tell me that QA Engineers and Software Testers primarily conduct their work on computers. That is hardly considered a hazardous condition and certainly does not require much physical exertion. Suffering physical job-related injuries is indeed unlikely for these personas.

In reality, there are some risks with a computer-facing career. Eye strain, repetitive stress, and other ergonomic issues related to prolonged computer use are possible. There are also mental health issues related to stress and job demands. We know that employers should provide support and resources for their employees’ well-being.

But that is not really why we are here today. Let’s take a look at some alternative injuries your QA and testing teams might suffer from.

Release Déjà Vu

A result of a mundane development process. If your enterprise is not innovative or your developers are not exploring new features and improvements, it can lead to a sense of “been there, done that.” One way to negatively affect your developers and testers is to remove the challenge and make their jobs monotonous. That will lead to poorly motivated and unsatisfied team members. If your releases are repetitive, it could also lead to complacency among team members, who will likely overlook defects as they have already seen them. The culture of innovation and improvement that should be reinforced will help make releases more unique while maintaining software quality.

Developer Induced Keyboard Bruises

In many organizations, the developer and testing teams are somewhat at odds. The two roles are inexorably linked, even dependent on one another. Developers are the ones who create the apps; testers are the ones who make sure they function properly for the end user. These two personas often come to a head over their work in siloed environments. Developers often push back against tester recommendations as they do not see testing as a part of the SDLC. This leads to tension between both teams as developers see QA as getting in the way of their progress. QA members need to be able to tell developers no. As the last line of defense to finding defects before production, a working relationship between both teams is essential.

Scripted Testing Burnout

This is the bane of all testers. Some companies use scripted testing as their only testing efforts. This is a problem as scripted testing requires testers to simply follow the script as written with no analytical or critical thought necessary. It is a restrictive type of testing that does little to contribute to the overall quality of the app under test. It only reinforces the same repetition. It also does not reflect real app usage, as people do not follow scripts when they engage with their apps. Their usage is messy and unpredictable. Some organizations do not only support scripted testing, but they refuse to expand and improve their processes. That would lead to a breakdown for any tester.

Requirement Reading Brain Freeze

The challenge for testers in this regard comes from the requirements for testing itself. Requirement documents are lengthy and filled with specific details and technical language that is confusing or difficult to understand for some testing team members. Some requirement documents are worse than that. Unclear, ambiguous, and inconsistent – these aspects make it hard to understand what the ask is. Requirements often change, which adds a layer of complexity when trying to keep up with changes. It is enough to freeze the brain of even the most hardened and experienced tester. Stakeholders and developers should learn how to write clear requirements documents and keep lines of communication open.

Indeed, tech jobs and office work are not the most injury-prone. Certainly, one does not need to fear falling from great heights or being burned or slashed by a blade. That is not to say there aren’t some real and speculative hazards, as we did above. The real health issues, such as the way people use their chairs or if they do or do not move around enough, are pretty well documented, with more research coming up all the time. The incidental injuries related to work stress, poor communication, and lack of well-defined processes might seem silly, but they are definitely worth examining.


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