The Best Software Testing Quotes on the Web

Sometimes a metaphor says it best. From humorous to bluntly insightful, here is our ultimate list of 100 software testing quotes. We’ve included quotes from figures like Angie Jones and Michael Bolton on topics spanning everything from finding bugs to tester-developer relations.

Feel free to share these quotes, use them in presentations and web pages, or make tweets out of them!

June 2019 update: We’ve updated these quotes, adding in some new voices and comments reflecting the state of testing today.

Quotes About Quality

1. “Quality is free, but only to those who are willing to pay heavily for it.” DeMarco and Lister

2. “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Benjamin Franklin

3. “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” Aristotle

4. “Software never was perfect and won’t get perfect. But is that a license to create garbage? The missing ingredient is our reluctance to quantify quality.” Boris Beizer

5. “Geeks are people who love something so much that all the details matter.” Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! CEO

6. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs 

7. “If you’re relentlessly focused on lowering cost, you’ll quickly become oblivious to opportunities to increase value.”  Michael Bolton

8. “…Quality debt focuses on the impact of implementation and quality decisions on the end user and business; how those decisions affect their ability to do their day-to day-job.”Jordan Setters

9. “Quality means doing it right even when no one is looking.” Henry Ford

10. “Fast, good, cheap: pick any two.” Anonymous

Software Testing Quotes

11. “Testers don’t like to break things; they like to dispel the illusion that things work.” Kaner, Bach, Pettichord

12. “Pretty good testing is easy to do (that’s partly why some people like to say ‘testing is dead’– they think testing isn’t needed as a special focus because they note that anyone can find at least some bugs some of the time). Excellent testing is quite hard to do.” James Bach

13. “A pinch of probability is worth a pound of perhaps.”— James Thurber

14. “Testing is not responsible for the bugs inserted into software any more than the sun is responsible for creating dust in the air.” Dorothy Graham

15. “To those who say that “if you need testing at the end, you’re doing it wrong”, would you prefer a Boeing, or are you going Air Icarus?” Michael Bolton

16. “The problem is not that testing is the bottleneck. The problem is that you don’t know what’s in the bottle. That’s a problem that testing addresses.“ Michael Bolton

18. “I am pretty sure there is a difference between “this has not been proven” and “this is false.” Ron Jeffries

19. “Testing is a skill. While this may come as a surprise to some people it is a simple fact.” Fewster and Graham

20. “You can be a great tester if you have programming skills. You can also be a great tester if you have no programming skills at all. And, you can be a lousy tester with or without programming skills. A great tester will learn what skills she needs to continue to be great, in her own style.” Jerry Weinberg

21. “No amount of testing can prove a software right, a single test can prove a software wrong.” Amir Ghahrai

22. “Discovering the unexpected is more important than confirming the known. George E. P. Box

23. “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘Now that’s funny…'” Isaac Asimov

24. “Testing is an infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous in order to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous.”— James Bach

25. “We only see what we know.” Goethe

27. “The more effort I put into testing the product conceptually at the start of the process, the less I effort I had to put into manually testing the product at the end because less bugs would emerge as a result.” Trish Khoo

28. “I do believe it’s important for testers to know the market that their client or their employer is in and the reason for that is if you understand what risks your client is facing and you understand what the competing products are and where the challenges lie in the market, you can plan your testing accordingly.”Karen N. Johnson

29. “I think when you hear the phrase ‘it’s just test code’. To me that’s a code smell.” Alan Page

30. “Just because you’ve counted all the trees doesn’t mean you’ve seen the forest.” Anonymous

31. “As a rule, software systems do not work well until they have been used, and have failed repeatedly, in real applications.”Dave Parnas

32. “It’s not at all important to get it right the first time. It’s vitally important to get it right the last time.” Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

33. “Simple systems are not feasible because they require infinite testing.” Norman Ralph Augustine

Quotes About Bugs

35. “If we want to be serious about quality, it is time to get tired of finding bugs and start preventing their happening in the first place.” Alan Page

36. “More than the act of testing, the act of designing tests is one of the best bug preventers known.” Boris Beizer

37. “Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.” Brian W. Kernighan

38. “When debugging, novices insert corrective code; experts remove defective code.” Richard Pattis

39. “It’s hard enough to find an error in your code when you’re looking for it; it’s even harder when you’ve assumed your code is error-free.” Steve McConnell

40. “Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.”— Donald Knuth

Quotes About Performance

41. “Just as athletes can’t win without a sophisticated mixture of strategy, form, attitude, tactics, and speed, performance engineering requires a good collection of metrics and tools to deliver the desired business results.” Todd DeCapua

42. “If an end user perceives bad performance from your website, her next click will likely be on your-competition.com.”Ian Molyneaux

43. “Any optimization that is not about the bottleneck is an illusion of improvement” – Federico Toledo

44. “Only conducting performance testing at the conclusion of system or functional testing is like conducting a diagnostic blood test on a patient who is already dead.”— Scott Barber

Quotes About Automation

45. “Automated scripts are checking known paths for expected results. That’s not truly testing. Testers discover the unknown, and this skill is still very much so needed, whether there’s automation or not. Without human intuitive exploration, a team may be blind to their most expensive bugs.”— Angie Jones

46. “Also common is the test automation group zombie. This zombie is the practice of assigning test automation to a dedicated team of test automators. The appeal is that we can keep developers focused on writing new code instead of writing and maintaining automated tests. The danger is that test automation inevitably lags development, so feedback from testing is delayed in a way that significantly reduces its value.” Dale Emery.

47. “Automation does not do what testers used to do, unless one ignores most things a tester really does. Automated testing is useful for extending the reach of the testers work, not to replace it.”— James Bach

48. “It’s automation, not automagic.”  Jim Hazen

Funny Testing Quotes

49. “Keep calm and enhance your team testing culture” Claudia Badell

50. “Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.” Fyodor Dostoevsky, courtesy of Elena Houser’s blog  

51. “Where is the ‘any’ key?” Homer Simpson

52. “f u cn rd ths, u cn gt a gd jb n sftwr tstng.” Anonymous

53. “To an optimist, the glass is half full. To a pessimist, the glass is half empty. To a good tester, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.” Anonymous

54. “Q: How many testers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: None, they just tell you that the room is dark.” Anonymous

55. “All code is guilty until proven innocent.” Anonymous

56. “One bad programmer can easily create two new jobs a year.”  David Parnas

57. “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.” Emo Philips

58. “If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it.”  Linus Torvalds

59. “Software and cathedrals are much the same: first we build them, then we pray.”— Anonymous

60. “The only system which is truly secure is one which is switched off and unplugged, locked in a titanium lined safe, buried in a concrete bunker, and is surrounded by nerve gas and very highly paid armed guards. Even then, I wouldn’t stake my life on it.” Gene Spafford

61. “Weeks of programming can save you hours of planning.” Anonymous

62. “Programming can be fun, so can cryptography; however they should not be combined.” Kreitzberg and Shneiderman

63. “The computer was born to solve problems that did not exist before.”Bill Gates

64. “There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don’t.” Anonymous

65. “Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen.” Edward V. Berard

66. “I don’t care if it works on your machine! We are not shipping your machine!”— Vidiu Platon

Quotes About Software

67. “A system is never finished being developed until it ceases to be used.”  Jerry Weinberg

69. “Software is like entropy: It is difficult to grasp, weighs nothing, and obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics; i.e., it always increases.”Norman Augustine

70. “Software is a gas; it expands to fill its container.” Nathan Myhrvold

71. “The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.” Tom Cargill

72. “It’s hardware that makes a machine fast.  It’s software that makes a fast machine slow.” Craig Bruce

73. “Computers are good at following instructions, but not at reading your mind.”Donald Knuth

74. “First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.” John Johnson

75. “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” Martin Fowler

Quotes About Tools

77. “Just like with everything else, tools won’t give you good results unless you know how, when, and why to apply them. If you go out and you buy the most expensive frying pan on the market it’s still not going to make you a good chef.” Christin Wiedemann

78. “He who thinks a tool can solve all problems, has a new problem.”Federico Toledo

Quotes About Testers and Developers

79. “Everybody can do testing, but only a tester does good testing.”— Melissa Eaden

80. “Share the pain and find together the solution.”— Lisa Crispin

81. “We have as many testers as we have developers. And testers spend all their time testing, and developers spend half their time testing. We’re more of a testing, a quality software organization than we’re a software organization.” Bill Gates

82. “A great tester gives programmers immediate feedback on what they did right and what they did wrong. Believe it or not, one of the most valuable features of a tester is providing positive reinforcement. There is no better way to improve a programmer’s morale, happiness, and subjective sense of well-being than a La Marzocco Linea espresso machine to have dedicated testers who get frequent releases from the developers, try them out, and give negative and positive feedback.”-– Joel Spolsky

83. “I remember the days when QA testers were treated almost as second-class citizens and developers ruled the software world. But as it recently occurred to me: we’re all testers now.” Joe Colantonio

84. “Testing has to be an integral part of developing software and not a separate phase. When this approach is taken, product quality is owned by everyone on the team. It is easy to state, but hard to put into practice because of long-standing preconceived notions that developers and testers are better kept apart.”— James Sivak

Quotes About Management

85. “Planning is the key, the plan is not so important.” — Janet Gregory

86. “Think outside the thought leadership to avoid being a thought follower. Adopting a good idea means you’ll still evaluate the next one.”— Lanette Creamer

88. “Having a testing specialist on the team is a valuable asset, but the role of a specialist isn’t to restrict that responsibility to a single person.”— Trish Khoo

89. “The key to building a great product is building a great team first. To me, great teams aren’t bound by roles, but they’re driven by moving forward.” Alan Page

90. “While we may understand the problem, it is critical for us to change our thinking, our practices, and continuously evolve to stay ahead of the problems we face.”— Mike Lyles

91. “Ever Tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”— Samuel Beckett 

92. “I’m pretty much convinced that if you want a team to go fast, a feeling of momentum is more important than a sense of urgency.” Elisabeth Hendrickson 

93. “If we fail, we fall. If we succeed – then we will face the next task.”— Gandalf (Tolkien)

94. “Everything really interesting that happens in software projects eventually comes down to people.” James Marcus Bach 

95. “When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”— Alexander Den Heijer via Anne-Marie Charrett

Quotes About Agile Testing

96. “People always say “code and then test,” I prefer “test and then code.” Janet Gregory

97. “If you adopt only one agile practice, let it be retrospectives. Everything else will follow.” Woody Zuill 

98. “To successfully implement continuous delivery, you need to change the culture of how an entire organization views software development efforts.” Tommy Tynja

99. “In shifting left, teams see huge benefits such as finding bugs much earlier, sometimes even before code is ever written. This results in a higher quality of code and a far less expensive way in achieving such.”  Angie Jones

100. “There’s this notion in agile teams of delivering a vertical slice of functionality in each sprint. You can’t do that if the team doesn’t represent all aspects of the slice. So the magic is in composing the team with a broad set of skills that’s focused on delivering value.” Mary Thorn

 


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