Management Shouldn’t Make Bug Count Jokes

A couple of years ago, a new senior manager began working at our organization (he was my boss’ boss). Shortly after his arrival, he came around to our group to introduce himself and meet the various members of the team.

He came into the room that houses my small dev team (5-6 people) on one side with another similar team on the far side of the room. He’s meets the other team, including their QA person. Then he meets our team and I’m introduced as our QA guy. He then quips:

So… do you guys keep score and see who has the least bugs?

Headdesk

Was it a joke? I’m not sure. He wasn’t laughing. And neither was I.

Yes, there is value in tracking some statistics, but what sort of impression does a tester get when the first interaction with a senior manager is that manager asking about bug stat competitions?

What are the odds that this person knows much about software testing? And if this person is going to evaluate software based on likely-bogus bug statistics, what other bad metrics is he going to use to make decisions?

Incidentally, said manager chose to leave the organization just a few weeks after being hired. Hopefully he found somewhere that’s a better fit.

Tip for management: testers probably are going to find your bug count jokes more scary than funny.

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