“No user would ever do that!”
“No user would ever try that!”
“No user would ever need that feature!”
“That’s a cool idea, but no user would ever want it.”
When developers say, “No user would ever do that,” what they really mean is “No user that I’ve thought of, and that I like, would do that on purpose. In the Rapid Software Testing course, James and I have been encouraging testers to probe that statement for users that the developer didn’t think of, for users that the developer doesn’t like (like hackers or inexperienced users), or for things that legitimate, likable users might do by accident.
It recently occurred to me, though, that developers often say this after a tester has done something that has surprised the developer. “No user would ever do that!” “Well, I’m a user, and I just did it.” “Yeah, but… you’re not a real user.”
One implication from this exchange is that testers aren’t real users. Another is that testers’ questions, actions, requirements, needs, and tactics don’t matter. Fair enough–but let’s keep that idea in mind, and maybe revisit it, when we hear another common software development question: “Why did it take you so long to find that bug?”