“I’ve tested everything, there are no bugs”

Why “Safety Language” is so important in Software Testing

Icons of a No Entry sign, a bug, a chat bubble and a magnifying glass over a bug.

Why does it matter?

When you deal with absolutes, you leave yourself no room for error. If an error is subsequently found, you will lose some credibility.

  • You’re still being open and honest about what you have tested
  • You’re being truthful in that you have found no bugs. You’re not saying there are no bugs, because software can never ever be bug free.

Wait… Software can never ever be bug free?

You can never test everything. You can test the areas that you feel are at most risk. How you identify these areas as a tester is up to you.

So what should I have said originally?

You may be thinking that there is nothing wrong with what I said at the start of this blog post.

What’s the difference?

I’m highlighting exactly what I have tested, how I have tested and even the documentation behind it (whether that be notes, or back in the day test cases). It’s clear to whoever I am speaking to what testing has been performed and that (generally speaking) they would have been involved in the planning in some form. I’ve also highlighted that I haven’t found any bugs in the testing I have performed, which isn’t to say there aren’t any bugs in this piece of software.

What are some other examples of Safety Language?

One thing I’ve noticed, is that we can use Safety Language in a number of ways.

Now what?

I hope that having read this post you have come to understand the role that Safety Language can have in your communication as a Software Tester. We encourage all our testers to use safety language when communicating with stakeholders.

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I mostly write about work and testing. I occasionally write about Sunderland AFC.

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Gareth Waterhouse

I mostly write about work and testing. I occasionally write about Sunderland AFC.