Elevator Pitches for Testers

In case you’ve been living in a cave somewhere and don’t know what an elevator pitch is – it’s a way of communicating an idea, product or service and it’s associated value proposition in a short period of time. The name comes from the sales concept that it should be possible to deliver a sales pitch during a brief, chance meeting – during an elevator ride for example.

It’s been observed by various folk within the software testing community that testers haven’t historically been very good at communicating their own value. When commenting on a blog-post the other day it became apparent to me that some of us still aren’t.

I think every tester should be able to tell people exactly what they do and how it adds value, whenever they need to. It occurs to me that practicing an elevator pitch for your testing services is an excellent vehicle for doing this.

I thought of a few examples below.

Exploratory Testing Elevator Pitch

I combine a number of testing activities (test design, execution, reporting etc) into one multi-threaded process saving you/your project/your team both time and money. I’m able to do this because I’ve studied hard and taken the craft of testing software seriously. As a result I’m able to apply critical thinking, advanced testing skills and the kind of judgement you get with lots of training and lots of experience of solving hard problems in real world scenarios. I’m also an awesome communicator and coach, so I can transfer these skills to other people too!

Developer in Test Elevator Pitch

I write automation scripts that exercise your product code, throwing lots of data at your system while blending real-world with edge and corner-case scenarios. By working alongside your development team while doing this, and by posing the kind of questions nobody else thought of or are too afraid to ask – I can help to ensure your team is building the right product, building the product right, and that your product is ready to ship when your business needs it. I’m pretty well up to speed on CI/CD engineering too, so I can help you to develop and maintain your build pipeline if you need me to!

Performance Tester Elevator Pitch

When you release your new web app, the last thing you want is for it to fall over as soon as your customers actually start to use the thing, or the next time your marketing team decide to advertise a Black Friday deal in a prime-time ad break. I can help you to load, performance and failover test your application and architecture ahead of time so you know that’s not going to happen. While I’m doing it I can also check for security issues that your developers may have forgotten about. And the best thing? All the tools I use are open source – so no licensing fees!

If you’re going to think about using an elevator pitch – you should try to make sure you cover off the bullets below as a minimum:

  • What is the objective? – You could use an elevator pitch in a variety of circumstances: to defend the testing role for example, or to try and expand your remit in a project or organisation, or possibly as an opening statement on your CV or in an interview.
  • What do you do? – What problems do you solve, how do you help people, groups, projects etc. Think about what you most want the person you’re talking to to take away from your statement.
  • What’s the USP? – What’s your special sauce, the thing that makes you or the service you provide stand out from the crowd?
  • Is it exciting to you? – If your elevator pitch excites you, it will show. And hopefully some of your enthusiasm will be transferred to the person you’re talking to.

If you want to go for something more advanced, try finishing up with a question – to further engage with the recipient(s) of your pitch. Something like “so how does your team handle [performance/automation/exploratory] testing?” might work for example.

If you want to get really special – you could try adding some words that sell software testing…

- Simon

6 thoughts on “Elevator Pitches for Testers

  1. Simon,

    I only read the first sentence and did not feel like reading any further. I don’t live in a cave neither many others who may not be aware of terminology like ‘elevator pitch’. As testers, one of our duties is to educate people and that in a positive way; not to undermine others with statements like this.

    1. Rajesh – I’m sorry you feel that way. I’ll try to choose my words more carefully in future. Thanks for your feedback.

  2. No problem mate. It was just a suggestion. As testers we have to be very careful how we present ourselves to others because most of the time either we want to break some bad news to them. For example, to developers, “you got bugs in your code”; or to PMs, “there is delivery risk because all Sev 1 & 2 bugs will not be fixed or retested before release date.; or to management,”Boss you run a quality risk because the product is not working as expected”.
    And because a lot of time we are breaking useful (but not positive for others), it becomes imperative that we present it in a way that stakeholders not just understand it, but also digest it well in order to take right decisions. It’s a constant learning.
    I have seen testers who like to offend others by celebrating when they find bugs. They don’t realize that we work for the same objective.

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