On Developers, Golf and Luck

empathyI love golf, I am quite atrocious at it, but still love the game.

According to legend, back in the 60’s, South African golfer Gary Player was playing a round with a friend. At the very start of the round, he sank two consecutive extremely long putts and got 2 birdies.

After his second long putt, his playing partner sad: “Wow, you are lucky!”.

Unfazed Gary replied “I am a great believer in luck, the harder I work the luckier I get”

What’s this got to do with the price of turnips in Termonfeckin, you might ask. Let me explain.

Just yesterday, I was discussing one of my previous blog posts with a tester I really admire and respect. The discussion was around whether developers can be taught testing and whether they really want or care to work with testers on improving their skills.

My experience says “Yes” and “Yes”, my interlocutor had a different opinion. Perfectly fine.

At a certain point he said, and I quote  “you’ve been in a great position to have people with the right mindsets, eager to learn and conduct testing activities”


I heard that before, I actually heard it too many times, in different forms.

In the last 10 years I was told: “you are lucky to be in that situation” or “you were fortunate to have the right people around you” and also “you have had the fortune of not having my situation where developers don’t care about testing, blah, blah blah…” and just about any other way of saying that I WAS LUCKY.

Honestly, I don’t think I have been lucky. Could I be lucky every time? Luck is about chance? I understand maths and getting lucky every time sounds quite, let me think, unlikely.

I made my own luck.

I learned to treat developers with respect, show them my appreciation for their work, empathise with their fears and expectations. When in this context, developers, or for that matter any category of people, become more interested in our own needs, more willing to help and learn something you might be teaching.

If we keep on saying that developers can’t test, that if there are no testers the world is going to end because developers are not able to do their job properly, how do we expect to have them listen to us and help us? First we shut them out of our little testing world and then we expect they want to learn what we do and help us, this is just not reasonable.

Funnily enough us, testers, are the biggest moaners of them all, always complaining that the industry doesn’t value us like it values developers, but we still don’t understand that empathy is important to get people to be on your side.

Don’t take my word on this, I am just a lucky man.



10 thoughts on “On Developers, Golf and Luck

  1. Thanks so much for this post. I first read the post that inspired this one and am very grateful for that post as well. The timing of these posts is superb as I’m going thru similar experiences where I work and this line of thinking fits well with what I’m working towards. I’ll elaborate more against the other post. Thank you.

  2. Correct thoughts,, you can have few exmaples always ready with you which proves it was not just luck and you have made efforts to make the situtations the way you want instead of blaming one or the other. Probably you can share some traits which other people can use to be “lucky” in their language

    • Hi Gaurav, thanks for your feedback.
      Very interesting thought, you are right, I should write down what I do when I interact with developers so that they eventually get to want to work and help me, thanks for giving me the idea!

  3. So you want to be lucky? Just treat people with respect, try to understand their view and do the best you possibly can. Worked for me!

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