Software Development Projects Lingering Dilemma

There is and has been a paradoxic dilemma in software development projects, and the synergy needed between development and QA for as long as I remember. Despite all innovation and optimization of methodologies and process, it is still lingering and pops up here and there.

It’s not the methods or processes used. It’s not due to the tools used. In fact, some processes and tools inadvertently have narrowed the gap.

I have been on both sides of the interview table hiring QA engineer, QA manager, software engineer. They are all conducted very similarly, with minimal difference, mostly in the a few questions asked.

What has rarely been considered, and often ignored, is the crucial part of putting a well-rounded team together. Individuals are either right-brained dominant or left-brained dominant. It doesn’t mean one is smarter, has an advantage than the other. It just reveals how they see the world and what is their areas of cognitive strength. What are their natural, innate abilities that makes them good at certain tasks or objectives?

Here is short list of important differences:
Right Brain            Left Brain

Analytical               Creative

Logical                    Imaginative

Precise                    Intuitive

Repetitive              Conceptual

Organized             Big Picture

Sequential            Heuristic

Human Brain
It happens that left-brained dominant individuals make good software engineer, or programmers. In contrast to that, best fitted to be QA engineers, software testers are usually right-brained dominant.

There is a sea of research and published studies regarding this, but for the sake this particular topic, I will keep it very short. It’s called Neocortex which makes up two-thirds of the entire brain. There are a lot of redundancy and interconnectivity between the right and left side of the brain. Both sides are used equally, but we are looking at the differences between “right-brained” or “left-brained.”

the Neocortex is the most advanced part of the brain. The two sides of it determine how we think, and whether we are “right-brained” or “left-brained.” This dominance, in turn, decides how the rest of the Neocortex will work. Left-brain dominant people are more likely to be clinical and cold in their judgments and problem solving. Language recognition is a function of the left hemisphere, too, and that makes languages easier for those with left-brain dominance. *

It certainly doesn’t mean one group or another are incapable of doing certain tasks. It’s what tasks they thrive at and flourish.

I always knew that I will never be a programmer or current terminology software engineer. It wasn’t because I wasn’t able and willing to learn. I remember looking over senior developer’s shoulders picking up bits of knowledge and information on how to code in SAS and COBOL, and later wrote programs to get what I needed done.Or pouring over long log files of BEA, currently known as WebLogic (Oracle) to troubleshoot the load balancing problem within the server cluster.

One thing remained constant was my passion and desire to improve quality, not just in products, but in problem solving skills. Sort of creating a self evolving process of problem solving and providing more efficient solutions. That has been at the core of my passion regardless of what I was working on. From the most complex problem to the simplest of tasks. I always believe, it can be improved. It is never ending cycle.

In 20+ years in this field, there is so much data and information I have gathered that can not be squeezed into a short article. I can, and may write a book breaking it all down, from what I have gathered through experience and research.

– Christopher Saleh
* Excerpt used – Bibliography Publishers, S. (1991) Are you left- or right-brain dominant? Available at:

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