The Scientist

A Tester who spends the majority of time documenting bugs, rather than finding new bugs.


Finding problems in a system can be as much fun as going on a treasure hunt, and then solving a puzzle when you find the treasure can also be interesting. It could be argued that a QA tester who views the process of finding bugs this way is ideal, but a problem can exist if the QA tester seeks to thoroughly document their journey of discovery. Rather than focusing in on just the core problem, the developer must read through a lengthy story containing information that is mostly of little use, trying to pick out the pieces of relevant information.

The Scientist QA tester has taken the message of “Thoroughly document your bugs” to the extreme. Bugs are reported in paragraph form, rather than as a concise description followed by a clear sequence of steps to reproduce. Reading a bug from the Scientist QA tester is very time consuming, and at the end it still may not be clear what the problem actually is. It is common for the description to include the discovery of many bugs, with the description referring to an area of the system rather than a specific problem.

The chief complaint from developers when receiving bug reports from Scientists is low signal-to-noise ratios, when they are spending their time sifting through a stream of consciousness looking for detail about specific problems. This leads to wasted time and frustration among the developers, as well as wasted time for the QA tester who is spending far too much time documenting irrelevant details.


The Scientist QA Tester represents a simple training opportunity on how to write bugs. Often, making the switch to writing clearer bug reports will be instant once they know what is expected. The most effective way to coach them on how to transition their reporting style is to rewrite one or more of their bug reports into the format that you are expecting, which serves as a before-and-after reference guide to them in the future. What you should be left with is an enthusiastic QA tester who generates clear and concise bug reports, which could not be more ideal.

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