Friday, March 16, 2012

Gems of Wisdom from Fellow Software Testers

This past week, I've been feeling very cerebral and the timing couldn't have been better because I've been able give my blog some much needed attention and I've also been able to get almost caught up on the backlog of blogs that I follow. In my reading, I have come across a number of gems of wisdom that I think are well worth sharing:

James Bach in Why Scripted Testing is Not for Novices
  • [A] scripted tester, to do well, must apprehend the intent of the one who wrote the script. Moreover, the scripted tester must go beyond the stated intent and honor the tacit intent, as well– otherwise it’s just shallow, bad testing. - TW: This problem is a direct result of divorcing test design and execution. And for a novice tester, they simply don't have the skills yet to "read between the lines" of the script to see the intent.

Michael Bolton in Why Checking Is Not Enough
  • But even when we’re working on the best imaginable teams in the best-managed projects, as soon as we begin to test test, we begin immediately to discover things that no one—neither testers, designers, programmers, nor product owner—had anticipated or considered before testing revealed them.
  • It’s important not to confuse checks with oracles. An oracle is a principle or mechanism by which we recognize a problem. A check is a mechanism, an observation linked to a decision rule.
  • Testing is not governed by rules; it is governed by heuristics that, to be applied appropriately, require sapient awareness and judgement.
  • A passing check doesn’t tell us that the product is acceptable. At best, a check that doesn’t pass suggests that there is a problem in the product that might make it unacceptable.
  • Yet not even testing is about telling people that the product is acceptable. - TW: I've been trying to promote this concept for at least a year in my own evolutionary understanding of my craft. You can expect my own blogging on this topic soon.
  • Testing is about investigating the product to reveal knowledge that informs the acceptability decision.

Michael Bolton in What Exploratory Testing Is Not (Part 3):  Tool-Free Testing
  • People often make a distinction between “automated” and “exploratory” testing. - TW: This is the first sentance and BAM! did it cause a paradigm shift for me!
  • That traditional view of test automation focuses on performing checks, but that’s not the only way in which automation can help testing. In the Rapid Software Testing class, James Bach and I suggest a more expansive view of test automation: any use of tools to support testing.

Anne-Marie Charrett in Please don't hire me
  • If you want me to break your code - TW: This set my brain going for at least two hours thinking about the implications of this. It's a great point though, testers don't break code. Look forward to more on this in the future.

I hope you find some wisdom in this too.

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