Explaining Software Testing

Michael Bolton is good in summarising fundaments of software testing in a tweet. In my eyes this piece of information deserves a little blog post.

The last sentence is something what teach my ISTQB FL students – you cannot assure that there are no bugs, but you can collect information about bugs you have found. You can analyse them and create set of actions how to secure your software developing process from reappearance of that kind of bugs.

Most of developers want to know if a feature does work or not, but we as testers can only say that Version A did work on Machine B under Circumstances C.  Project managers and customers want to know if it will work on production. We as testers cannot assure it, because we did not test on production. Based on tests on similar environments and under similar circumstances we can suppose that it can work.

Sounds very logical, but it can escalate very quickly, because DEVs, POs and PMs think that testers are there to save the word and to give certificates that the software they are working on, works perfectly as described.

If you still get asked:

– “What do you do whole day long if you cannot tell me will it work or not?!” 

In heated situation like this it is too late to explain semantics, fundaments of testings or why software development process is complex. You should done it as soon as possible you could, when you started to work on a new feature, on new project, in new team or new company.  Remember – one of most important skill of a tester is communication skills. We need those not to be able to talk about the weather, but for explaining what is testing and how testing can help to DEVs, PMs, POs and all others. Daily.

Michael suggests 4 step plan how to learn fundaments of software testing:

  1. Learn how to test: How can a trainee improve his/her skill sets in testing?; To The New Tester
  2. Declare your commitments: A Tester’s Commitments
  3. Recognise that all testing is heuristic: Heuristics for Understanding Heuristics
  4. Learn to tell the testing story: How is the testing going?

Looks simple, but as you start to read the linked resources you will understand that studies can take years. Take deep breath. To be able to explain testing to others, you have to learn it first for yourself. Do not panic if it does not work on a first try. Make experiments, try new approaches, improve your skills. One day you will master it!

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