Clarification: I don’t know if these *actually* inspired testers that have worked for me, but I have indicators to believe that they seem to have built good will.
1) Help them midwife their ideas.
2) Catch them doing something cool.
3) Be an example (as in Parimala’s blog about looking for a book).
4) Pretend you’re the new guy and ask them for tips and advice.
5) Tell them your failures and invite them to suggest what you could have done differently.
6) Find a way to “Dogfood” the app you’re testing — to not just pretend to be a user, but find a way they would actually use it themselves.
7) Ask them what movies or actors inspire them, then care about the answer.
8- Solve one problem for them OR allow them to solve one problem for you.
9) Back them up in a conflict they had with management.
10) Demonstrate testing to them but show your thinking (mistakes, assumptions, etc.) as you test.
11) Have them email someone in our business like Michael Bolton or Lanette Creamer, who have good ideas and love responding to honest questions from colleagues.
12) Pretend that the developer forbade them to test something and see what they would do about that.
13) Have a friendly competition of who can find the best bug or create a flash mob for them to share their ideas or borrow from others (the #parkcalc one last month is a good example).
14) Have them go to a testing conference but be sure to hang out with other testers AFTER the conference day is done.
15) Allow them a safe space to fail, but also to show their smarts.
16) Invite them to give YOU a brainteaser or puzzle that YOU have to solve in front of them.
17) Pretend that you are shipping tomorrow and see what they would do about it at a time when management may think “we found everything”.
18) Encourage them to participate in a Weekend Tester session, and if they’re shy, just have them lurk.
19) Take an existing bug and don’t tell them what it is, but have them try to reproduce it by pairing up with someone.
20) Remind them of other metaphors — like how testers are heroes like the Secret Service, Men in Black, bodyguards, or crime scene detectives.