I keep hearing people say that testers are “gatekeepers”. Just as much from testers as other project members. For example, last week, I heard a tester say that he was a “gatekeeper of the product release“. <facepalm>”Doh!!“</facepalm>
The truth is that testing is investigating and questioning the product and its requirements, so that information about how the software actually works (regarding bugs, risks, concerns, problems, issues, further questions, etc) can be gathered and the level of quality of the product can be determined. Then all this information is relayed in a suitable manner to the stakeholders so that they can make an informed decision on the suitability of the software for its live release.
Testers are not here to make those release go/no-go decisions. We are here to do that investigation to provide the information. We of course need to take context and all the different stakeholder perspectives into account during this investigation while focussing on the various aspects of the software, such as; Functionality, Usefulness, Usability, Accessibility, Security, Performance, SFD(I)POT, etc.
Also, raising bugs isn’t us saying that we reject and condemn the release from happening. Preventing a release from occurring simply isn’t our choice to make… Our bugs, risks and other discoveries that we make are part of the information that we provide the stakeholders which allows them to make the informed decision. After all, the stakeholders are the best possible people to be making the business decision on the priority of any of these issues and whether the release can go ahead or not.
So if you hear anyone refer to the role of a tester as being a gatekeeper, tell them what testers actually do and lets blast this misconception out of the water.