The conventionally held belief is that the goal is to prevent the bug.
While a few of our brethren believe that the goal should be to provide quality related information to all stake holders to help make a business decision.
Then there is Brian Marick who believes that the goal of the testing team is
We are a service organization whose job is to reduce
damaging uncertainty about the perceived state of the product.
and we also have a few who believe that the goal of a tester is to be a part of “development team” and delivering products that provide value to customers.
Also we have some like Magdalena Bozyk who believes that the goal of a tester is “To build confidence in software by trying to destroy confidence in it.” This according to her is also the great paradox of testing.
Finally my take is that the primary goal of the tester is to assure application works as per specs…..
This can be well illustrated in an hypothetical scenario of an application which does not have defects….
if the app under test has no defects than will a tester be denied realization of his goal….. we need to realize that defects is an effect of effective testing and not its cause or goal…..