Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Responce to "Oy you tester!" By ElizaF

I was strolling casually in the Twitter-land and I saw this link. It was a blog written by ElizaF (maybe that's her real name, but who knows). She had a post that was a bombardment of questions. It got me thinking and suddenly I started to write up the answers to those questions. Here they are:

What do you think when you see people talking about spending three weeks writing tightly worded test cases before they start testing a product?
  • What would you think of a person refusing to do it? It there is pressure from organization is it worth your employment to refuse? Testing based on strict test cases forces you to forgo your creativity (unless exploration is allowed or better yet encouraged). But it’s not what I think when I see that kind of a thing (and boy do I see that!) but what I do. I speak up and try to my best ability steer the testing process towards enoughness, quickness, agility, exploration -> TESTING! Away from checking, towards testing.

What do you say when you read of people describing their work environments as Agile with elements of Waterfall?
  • It can be agile-ish, but there no agility in waterfall! This just means that a PM or some high level dude doesn’t understand testing to any extent. I would stamp “TEST EARLY” (better yet: “TEST NOW!”) onto his/hers (from now on I speak genderless when I say “he”) forehead so he will remember it every morning he brushes his teeth. Even the most top level people should be aware of what testing is and why is it so important!

What do you comment on blogs where people write of successfully using a commercial tool time and time again project after project?
  • Good question. I almost answered “I don’t.” but they may be posting things like that due to insecurity of trying things that FIT THE CONTEXT. There may be reasons behind the choise of tools that are unclear to me and they may be good ones. I however have not stumbled upon such blogs. Any hints?

How do you reply when people ask  on forums about where to get the answers to the ISEB exams?
  • I say: “You don’t need the answers. Better yet you don’t need the exam!” And to be realistic the questions in ISEB tests are mostly obvious and you can answer to them without any knowledge about testing -> you just need to memorize a book. And that’s it. You will almost never use the information in the cert for anything (except you know to stay away from people that require you to). Instead of cert you need knowledge about your domain, procedures, tools, practices and make them work for you. Professionally (or CV-wise) you could take the test but relying it to bring you competence over doing testing is where the certifying goes wrong.

What impression do you have of other testers who profess to having no knowledge of who the leading speakers and thinkers in the world of QA are today?
  • I know some. Not all. I know those who I think matter in the field.

How do you engage with other members of your profession with whom you disagree with or whose outlook you consider yourself to have evolved beyond years ago?
  • This’ a tricky question. Be it the language barrier or whatever but this is how I understand this: “What if you think some other way to approach to something is better than the one who is suggesting an approach?” I need to know the reason why they support the chosen approach and try to understand the meaning behind it. If a valid reason is presented then it might be the best approach for the context. Or there may be some room to improve on which case the change must be found.

How do you write about QA people saying they took a long time to replicate and report a bug of which you have no knowledge but the amount of hours mentioned sound like a "long time" to you?
  • Instrument (run in debugger, record GUI, kernel, etc) beforehand so less time consuming replication is needed. I would find out the context on which the system has been tested and bug found. If customer found the bug then we need to know the environment and such. We cannot say something took a long time unless we know how long it should take (mostly we don’t).

Do you talk to people who are not in perfect alignment with your way of thinking like they are below you? Do you think that evolution as tester can only be achieved by going on a certain course and anyone not following that path is below you?
  • No reason to rate people by their current way of thinking. What should be done is rate them by the way they have improved their thinking. Some people do box themselves and never change POV. These people should be looked down upon. The self improvement may be just as effective as a course but sometimes preachy people make your heart turn into a certain direction which may seem the right direction for a while. Look into facts and whether the thing you are doing fits the context you’re in.
When I got to the finish of the blog I saw that this was a trap. "What do you think of yourself for thinking things like that?" I started to scroll what I wrote and came to the same conclusion as ElizaF:  
If we have the skills and the knowledge to consider ourselves as good testers we encourage others to be good testers also!  
There is no backdoor of which you can go. If you have knowledge and you don't share, your not a good tester. If you have skills that others require and it is possible to teach those, teach them or you're a bad tester. Be a good tester. Question your thinking. Think what you question!


ElizaF said...

It just suddenly occurred to me that an opportunity to teach and be taught was being missed by testers who considered themselves "better" than others because of their working practices.

As my Mother always says, it costs nothing to be nice and if you have nothing good to say, dún do bheal! (shut your mouth)

Pekka Marjamäki said...

I have learned that when you have nothing say, speak up. If you're in a silent room and something need to be said, be the one who says it.

Somethimes meaningless blabber ca lead into innovation. If all remain silent because they think their message is irrelevant, no-one'll speak.

I do however get your point here. There is no point to ridicule or badmouth others because they do not share your opinion or views. For the sake of arguing there is sometimes a dire need to take it extremes and namecalling to better spark the conversational flame. And if you think someones way is bad, ask them why they chose it. If explanation is valid and justified there's no need ridicule. It may however be questiond and should, in search of a better solution to task at hand.