Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Are You a Testing Expert ?

Analyze these claims:
1. “You should write a test plan”
2. “It’s important that testing be repeatable”
3. “Each test case should have an expected result”
4. “Test automation saves money and time”
5. “All testing is based on a model of what being tested”
6. “Good enough quality is not good enough”
7. “An undocumented test cannot be improved”
8. “Exploratory testing is a useful practice”
9. “It’s better to use the term defect than bug”
10. “Ambiguity should be removed from requirements.”

Non-Experts are More Likely to Say…
– Yes, that’s what the books say.
– This is right.
– That is wrong.
– I don’t know. {awkward silence}
Experts are More Likely to Say…
– Tell me more about the context.
– I can think of how that might be true and I can think of how it might
be false. Let’s think it through…
– Let me reframe that…
– Here are some possible answers…
– Here’s one way I’ve solved this…
– I don’t know. Here’s how I will find out…

What’s Special About Testing
There are few people around to teach you how to test.
Most of what is taught as “testing” is unreliable or misleading folklore.
Testing is a complex problem-solving activity.
Learning testing on your own doesn’t cost you much, you don’t need anyone’s permission, and it generally poses no threat to life or property.


However…
It’s hard to know if you are doing it well.
Good testing varies quite a lot with the context.

Experts have…
– Situational awareness
– Confidence in confusion
– Colleague network
– Trained reflexes
– Awareness of limitations
– Diverse experiences
– Relevant knowledge
– Mental models for problem-solving
Reputation

Experts do…
– Avoid traps and dead ends
– Systematic inquiry
– Confront authority and convention
– Self-training and retraining
– Self-criticism
– Pattern matching on experience
– Coherent explanations
– Justify methodology
– Write, speak, teach


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