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James: What's wrong is that you don't have a charter to do what you want to do. So, get a charter. Get your manager to tell you to do the analysis. Get him to agree with the way you are using your time. Then when you are "blamed" for not doing everything, you can point to your manager and say "take it up with him." I went through something like this last year. I worked for a client that didn't support me in doing what I thought I should do. I stopped doing that stuff.

You can't get too far ahead of your client. Rohit: Why is it that clients listen to dev folks most of the time?

James: Oh, that's easy. You haven't built credibility. The developers have more credibility. You build credibility by dealing with difficult problems and showing that you solve them well. But you have to do that without running wild (in the client's mind).

You have to maintain contact with your client.

If I were you, I would spot the need for the analysis work, and I would go to my manager and tell him what I thought I should do and would warn him what would happen if I spent time on that. And I would warn him what would happen if I didn't spend time on that. Then I would make my recommendation and ask what he wanted me to do.

I do think that testers can and should take initiative and help wherever they can. But if we do that in conflict with the expectations that our clients have for us, then we have little defense against the charge that we wasted time instead of doing our job.


James Bach is a software tester, author, trainer and consultant. He wrote numerous articles for IEEE Computer. In Software Testing, he is a proponent of the Context-Driven school and advocate of Exploratory testing. He is credited with developing Session-based testing. According to Google Scholar, several of his articles have been cited dozens of times including his work on heuristics for testing and on the Capability Maturity Model. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Software Testing.

Since 1999, he works as independent consultant out of Eastsound, Washington. On this basis, he was one of the expert witnesses in the Microsoft antitrust case: he determined that Microsoft could indeed unbundle Internet Explorer from the Windows operating system.

His book "Lessons Learned in Software Testing" has been cited over 130 times according to Google Scholar.

James has also written "Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar". To know more about James, please click here or here.

James can be reached at or on twitter @jamesmarcusbach .

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