The Hippocratic Oath for Testers

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards.

I was reading the Hippocratic Oath shared by Kalpak Nikumbh in the Mythology Meets Science Group and realized that most of the points are relevant for testers and any other responsible profession too. I have attempted to adapt the Hippocratic Oath for Testers with the limited understanding of testing, vocabulary, and software profession that I have.

So, here it goes:

In the name of suffering humankind; with modesty, compassion, and dedication to the welfare of the technology solutions according to the best of my ability and judgment; I will keep this oath.
I will be honest with my stakeholders in all work-related matters. When this honesty reveals bad news I will deliver it with courage, understanding, and tact.
I will attempt to provide whatever information my stakeholders need so that they can make well-informed decisions more effectively.
I will provide my stakeholders with acceptable alternatives in inferences, analysis, and suggestions, explaining the risks and benefits of each alternative as best as I know them.
I will encourage my stakeholders to seek professional opinions other than my own before accepting that offered by me.
I will allow my primary stakeholders to make the ultimate decision about their own solutions. When they are not able to conclude on a decision, I will accept the decision of their superiors or colleagues, encouraging these surrogates to decide as they believe the primary stakeholder would have decided.
I will provide information to all stakeholders regardless of sex, race, creed, sexual preference, lifestyle, or economic status. In particular, I will volunteer some of my time to provide free consultation and teaching to my peers, developers, managers, and any other colleagues.
I will not let my biases and pre-conceived opinions on any developer/stakeholder drive my testing outcomes but will test to the best of my ability regardless of the circumstances, relationships, and biases. I will be empathetic to end-user suffering caused by poorly designed/developed software, or other forms of bad user experiences.
I will turn away no bugs, even those with complex, and irreproducible behavior.
Knowing my own limitations and those of technology in general, I will strive to test in the best possible, and available approach always.
I shall write and perform automated checks only if there is a reasonable chance of running them multiple times in the future too or if appropriate for the context and if it can improve the testing process for my stakeholders. I will not write any automated checks or procedures or tools solely to make / bill money from the customer.
I will freely refer my stakeholders to consult other testers if I am convinced that their testing methodology and approach are better in the given context.
I will freely furnish copies of the test reports to the primary stakeholders or, when authorized by the primary stakeholders, to other stakeholders, upon request. I will cooperate with my stakeholders like I would do for myself or my personal projects. I will not try any unauthorized/restricted experiments on the projects unless informed consent is received. I will strive to instruct my stakeholders fully so that truly informed decisions are possible.
I will remain a student all my professional life, attempting to learn not only from formal professional sources but from my customers, contexts, and stakeholders as well. I will apply the lessons they provide to the care of other stakeholders and projects.
I will treat my professional colleagues with respect and honor; but I will not hesitate to testify openly about colleagues and organizations that are guilty of malpractice, malfeasance, cupidity, or fraud.
I will defend with equal fervor colleagues who are unjustly accused of malpractice, malfeasance, cupidity, or fraud.

While adapting this oath made for medical practitioners to testers, I could see a lot of commonalities that are there between these professions. The most common are responsibility, trust, purpose, honesty, and courage. I wish both testers and medical practitioners could abide by such oaths and maybe that’s the world we all aspire to see soon 🙂

As this is just an initial draft of this oath, feel free to suggest changes, updates, inconsistencies, and improvements for improving this one.

Thank you!

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