Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What's The True Tester Mindset?

Sometimes, work can be difficult without the proper mindset. If you’re tired, angry or frustrated for instance, you’re almost guaranteed to make some careless mistakes. This is true of almost every profession. Software testing in no exception.

So what’s the proper mindset for a software tester? Much has been written on the topic – and it’s critical to your success in the field – so I figured I’d offer a few different points of view.

A professional tester approaches a product with the attitude that the product is already broken – it has defects and it is their job to discover them. They assume the product or system is inherently flawed and it is their job to ‘illuminate’ the flaws.

This approach is necessary in testing.

Designers and developers approach software with an optimism based on the assumption that the changes they make are the correct solution to a particular problem. But they are just that – assumptions.

Without being proved they are no more correct than guesses. Developers often overlook fundamental ambiguities in requirements in order to complete the project; or they fail to recognise them when they see them. Those ambiguities are then built into the code and represent a defect when compared to the end-user’s needs.

Pedantic, sceptical, nit-picking to software

Now, if you called someone a pedant, a sceptic, and a nitpicker, they’d probably take an instant dislike to you. Most folk would regard such a description as abusive because these are personal attributes that we don’t particularly like in other people, do we? These are the attributes that we should wear, as a tester, when testing the product. When discussing failures with developers however, we must be much more diplomatic. We must trust the developers, but we doubt the product.

Most developers are great people and do their best, and we have to get on with them – we’re part of the same team, but when it comes to the product, we distrust and doubt it. But we don’t say this to their faces. We doubt the quality of everything until we’ve tested it. Nothing works, whatever “works” means, until we’ve tested it.

Impartial, advisory, constructive to developers:

But we are impartial, advisory and constructive to developers. We are not against them, we are on the same team. We have to work with them, not against them. Because it is human nature to take a pride in their work and take criticism of their work personally, bear in mind this quote: ‘tread lightly, because you tread on their dreams’.

All software must possess bugs as the developers are human and you can’t eliminate the error factor from humans. Therefore it’s very important for the tester to think from end user perspective and try to find out all the possible bugs that a user can face. The approach to use Mindset Testing is to treat the software as it’s full of bugs; the developers deployed an application that will crash when end-user will use it and testing its all possible flows. Here begins the work of a tester to find out all these bugs and loopholes that will make this application go crashing.

Don’t take any bug lighter, “Report all bugs you have encounter with”, as you will be responsible for it at the end.  Although sometimes with the mutual understanding of the developers and QA, some bugs are not addressed right away, but still, from QA perspective one should not skip reporting any bug.

What do you think? Is there a proper mindset for testing? If so, what is it?

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