As a tester, who do you serve?
Do you serve your company owners, maximizing short and long term profitability?
Do you serve your manager, fulfilling the tasks she has given you to complete the project?
Do you serve your test team, pulling your weight to get the job done?
Do you serve the developers you work with, making their daily life easier with perfect bug reports and reducing the heat they get from support when bugs slip through?
Do you serve the folks over in the sales department, giving them products that your customers recommend to their friends?
Do you serve the first line support guys, making sure they don’t get flooded with unnecessary support cases and bug reports?
Do you serve the end users, polishing out those little annoyances so they can get on with their work without even noticing the tool they use to do it?
Do you serve the public, pointing out that CPU-hungry procedure that wastes fossil-fueled energy?
Ideally, you are serving all of them at the same time.
Inevitably, there will be conflicts.
To the sales guy, maybe delivering on schedule to the paying customer is more important than giving a completely annoyance-free application to the end users in the customer’s organization. To the developer, those branding issues that the board cares about to build market recognition are just annoying to have to deal with. Digging down to find that CPU hog to save the environment might mean that your team mates have to work harder to get the other tests covered.
The balance is up to you. This is where your professional integrity comes in. Where do you put your efforts, when you have to choose? When are you satisfied with a job well done?