Subconcious testing

I’ve finished reading Subliminal recently and it confirmed an idea I always had: guts in testing make a huge different. I’ve already talked about great testers being born instead of trained. Experience, study and failing to teach you new skills to achieve better efficacy, but most of the decisions I take during testing sessions are gut-driven (and experience driven as well, always remember previous shit!).

The best (or worst, depending on your side of the game) bug discoveries I’ve made were trying something off record purely based on my instincts. Building that load test focusing on the weird interaction between components because several parts use the same database, or just letting my inner annoying user take control of the keyboard and mouse. Something tells me that the calendar widget may easily fail, and the payment app is not going to correctly handle high load.

This makes some conversation with developers tense because they want a reason why we can’t go live get, and waiting for me up build a test that will check something that we don’t have any evidence yet that it might fail is not a valid reason. With time, they end up trusting my guts as much as me; but I find wise to hold it while you’re still building that trust, as it’s not wise to have your new team against you during the first weeks. When they see its value, they stop thinking that is a waste of time.

It also makes Quality Assistance methodologies trickier because teaching reasonings that are not fully conscious requires a deeper knowledge in the field. I like analysing my actions after doing them in order to understand the reasons and having an easier time explaining them.

But, if testing is about guts, how can we train it? For me, analysing my reasonings helps me identify what I correctly did and where to focus my efforts; and observing my colleagues asking for reasons make me understand new ways and approaches. It’s hard to learn from other’s experiences, but it’s still better than nothing. That’s why I prefer reading about testing cases and stories rather than studying. But there’s still a long road ahead so, give me a hint, how do you do?

May the force be with you

Gino

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