Testers, stop saying these 3 things

No one can look inside you to find out how good you are at something. Everyone judges you from what you say and what you do and that is why if you want to build your repute as a Knowledge Tester, you should stop saying these 3 things.

  1. Where are the Specs

When I started learning the craft of software development in late 90’s I liked the quotes that said that “You can only walk on water if it is frozen. And you can only work on requirements if they are frozen”. (I couldn’t find the origin of this; can any one help?)

Fast forward many years and the constant change has made it impossible to freeze the requirements. Our users, their requirement, their priorities, their environments, the technology changes at such a fast pace that freezing them is against the laws of Physics.

So when you start on a new project or feature as a tester, never ask ‘where are the Specs’. Because chances are that either they don’t exist or they are outdated/ out of sync from how the software currently behaves.

I know what you are thinking now that how we can move forward if we don’t know what the software is supposed to do. The answer to that is “find out”. Yes, we can find them out through exploration and invoking Three Amigos conversations with Programmers and Customers.

And if someday you accidentally find the Specs, add them to your list of resources that reveal the ‘truth of expected behavior’. Don’t take them as the absolute resource for this purpose.

stopSaying

(the photo is taken from this article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141020052253-64875646-50-things-you-must-stop-saying-at-work )

  1. How should I test this?

We often get into this trap that as we engage other members of the team in testing, we ask their advice on how the systems should be tested. There are two problems associated with that kind of statement.

First, people can start doubting your skills by thinking that ‘we hired these guys to test and they ask us how to test. If we knew that, we could have tested this at our own’. The second problem is that you start following the thought process that produced the solution rather than thinking of new ways to look at the problem. Also at times, Programmers give their undone projects to testing team as soon as they are asked how to add more tests.

The right question to ask is: ‘What should I test?’ and then keep on extracting information, absorb that information and then come up with a plan so as how you’ll test it. There is no harm in saying that ‘this is how I plan to test, what thoughts do you have’ as in that case you’ll get answers driven by your test strategy and not following what others suggested you.

  1. I need more time to test

This is a killer statement and if you ask Project Managers about what they hate to hear from testers, this statement will be on the top of the list.

The thing is that testing never ends and it is impossible to find all the time to run all possible scenarios to find all the problems. In fact as you spend more time in testing, you figure out that you need more time for it. See how similar is this to spending time on vacation: you always need more time.

But the fact is that we don’t have time.

So, rather than looking at the equation from testing perspective, we need to look from the time perspective. Set clear rules that if you are given one month to test, this is what you’ll do. If you are given one week to test, this is what you’ll do. And if you are given just one hour, this is what you’ll test. On one of the release decisions that I’m part of, we are down to only 24 hours throughput time on testing. You tell us today you want to release it, within 24 hours you know ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

You might be thinking that I’m promoting automation but in fact I’m not. It is true that quick feedback from testing can be fast tracked through automation but defining clear priorities on what will be tested is what will get you there.

Do you also think that we should stop saying these things as Testers? If no, please let me know why. If yes, what else we should stop saying

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6 responses to “Testers, stop saying these 3 things”

  1. Nasir Din says :

    Great stuff Majd! I totally agree with what you have described here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awais Bashir says :

    Agree with your thoughts , being as a tester we try to explore the system if req are not specified. More over try to test the things according to time frame . In fact great sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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