We’ve all worked on those projects that did not go so well. Constantly changing requirements, designs that continually changed, not enough time was allocated for development and proper testing (improper estimations). You do what you can to try and make the project succeed, and in the end you learn a lot, and can take away from these projects that you did your best.
We’ve all worked on those projects where you, the tester, were an integral piece. You were involved from the onset, providing great feedback and advice. You found ‘tons’ of defects and helped direct change in designs. You helped meet all the deadlines. Ahhh, doesn’t that feel great to be a valued and important member of the team!
Now, how about those projects you are on, where it feels like you don’t have much to add or contribute? The designers are top notch, the requirements are written in stone, the developers on the project are world class, the project manager is on top everything, there is adequate time to complete all the work. You are writing up and executing test plans and testcases like crazy, you are using every testing technique you can think of to try and uncover hidden bugs, you are trying anything you can to show you are a valued member of the team. Nothing… Nada. Not a significant bug to be found (darn you developer whiz kid!). How are you going to report to your manager that you did not find a single defect or perhaps a couple extremely minor ones!? How are you going to feel worthy!?
The answer… don’t sweat it! Enjoy it! Your job is not to find bugs, it is to observe the system and question it. These kind of projects may come from time to time, but are certainly not the norm. Be confident of what you did, how you did it, constantly learn and most of all take pride in your efforts. Maybe take that developer whiz kid out and buy him a beer for being so awesome (or soda if he really is a kid).
I once worked at a place where the mandate of the testers was to find defects at all costs, and to essentially celebrate and do a happy dance when they did. That was the way they felt worthy.
Do not fall into that trap.