"Calendar tester" for December. Try a different approach
In the New Year, many people sum up, analyzing the past year, remember all their results and make plans for the future. In the 12th edition of our calendar, Anastasia Ronzhina, Kontur.Market service tester , will tell you why you should try something new, change your views, attitudes, make mistakes and try again.
Why do I need this?
Everything is fine with me, I work very well, I am praised, why should I change something? It is a logical question. In response, a quote from the book "Alice Through the Looking Glass":
It is necessary to run as fast as possible, just to stay in place, but to get somewhere, you must run at least twice as fast!
While we sit and just test puzzles, the world does not stand still. James Bach and Michael Bolton are conducting another study and are looking for approaches to testing with high quality in a short time.
The place of the tester evolves in the development process, and the processes themselves. For example, Maxim and Irina from our company talked about the evolution of autotests , about how you can speed up development with tests and changing attitudes about who should write them at what stage. Lena and Hilaria talked about the fact that you can change your tools, connect to communication with the user, to prepare TK and prototypes in order to improve the quality of the product.
I am very sad when I once again hear the opinion that a tester can reach its limit in 1.5 years, and then either in automation, or a change of role for a manager, analyst, developer, etc. When your every day is just Algorithm repetition: I read analytics, looked at prototypes, tested, posted bugs, rechecked bugs - it’s easy to understand why you get tired and disappointed in the profession. It's just boring!
But when you change the approaches to the study of the problem, the approaches to test generation, methods of testing, then:
- First, you find something that allows you to test faster, something that allows you to carry out an in-depth analysis of the features and not miss anything. I think that no one will refuse to improve their work and the appearance of free time :).
- Secondly - it is really fun! Personally, I find it very difficult day by day to perform typical tasks with a standard algorithm.
You can dig a certain topic and become a narrow specialist. You can grow in breadth. Over time, people will reach out to you, because suddenly you will begin to answer the questions of "your topic." You can be called to other teams to establish a process or some kind of tool, to teach something. Another profit is your interest, your knowledge, you can inspire other colleagues to develop, which means that there will be even more good testers in the world :).
What exactly can change the approach?
1. Artifacts or testing documentation
Each of us somewhere fixes the test plan, the decomposition of the problem, the scheme of the product, instructions, bugs, agreements. This may be a piece of paper, a file on a computer or some program. We create test cases, checklists, smart cards, tables, charts, diagrams, instructions ...
What is worth thinking about is the goals: why and for whom are you doing this? Is testing documentation a product or tool? How fast is your product changing? And what is the flow of new testers? There is a wonderful set of questions, described in lesson 148 from the book Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach , Cem Kaner, James Bach and Bret Pettichord. If you do not have a book at hand, there is a translation of this lesson.
I saw autotests at one team - as the main self-supporting documentation, why not?
2. Testing Techniques
This is probably the most obvious point, but where without it. Answer honestly yourself, what techniques are you using now? No, you do not know exactly apply! How long have you tried to find something new?
I often come across the fact that testers know the theory of test design, but for some reason they don’t use it and test it, as they learned it once, at the level of intuition, perhaps out of habit or after unsuccessful attempts to use a technician. There is a cool idea for Kaner in lesson 26 from the same book:
Intuition is a fine beginning, but a lousy conclusion (Intuition is good for a start, but a lousy end).
Yes, in the beginning, this ghost saves us, we stumble when testing for bugs, we seem to succeed. But over time, the missed bugs will start flying from the battlefield. For example, suddenly it turns out that when combining specific values of parameters something happens wrong, or when some action suddenly the object has moved to a new state, and we did not notice this when testing. Techniques will allow you to avoid all of this, they will allow you to test more efficiently, you will be able to solve faster and better problems.
Alexey Barantsev had a very good analogy with orientation. When you have learned well how to navigate the terrain (intuitively used techniques, unconsciously), then having studied the maps and models, you will be even better oriented. New technology will give you new opportunities to move around the area. For example, I learned climbing - now you can not only go around the mountain, but also climb it. Techniques are very difficult to go at first, while you study them, but over time you train and then use them on the machine.
Where to find new ideas on techniques? Read or, if you’ve already read it, scroll through the book of A Coercion , or pick up a Whittaker test tour ( Exploratory Software Testing: Tips, Tricks, Tours, and Techniques to Guide Test Design, James A. Whittaker ) and “travel” on your product. Shake the old days and sign up for a course on test design. Try it!
3. Techniques for analyzing and generating ideas
Yes, it is the analysis of the entire formulation of the problem, the study of functionality, the study of the test object. If we return to the reasoning about intuition, the reason for missing the errors may still be an insufficiently analyzed task, incompletely collected information. What can be changed here?
You can study what are the oracles of testing . Surely you will discover a new source of information. Or, if you already know them, look, for example, at your competitor's product and learn how your features are implemented there.
Look for analysis techniques, study modeling, because we are testing it in its presentation of the program, in its model. Take the objects of your system and carry out the analysis on the SCR (actions - parameters - values).
First select all the objects that you have, paint all the actions that you can perform on these objects, then the parameters that affect the actions, and then the specific values of the parameters.
Read the books of Edward De Bono about thinking and inventing non-standard solutions. Take the book " Rice Storm " and train your brain. Every day we storm over puzzles, invent, and what else could affect our task. Training will help make it faster and more productive.
4. Environment and processes
I'm not talking about changing teams or companies, although in some situations why not? :) I wanted to talk about what's around testing.
Take and change your favorite browser or screen resolution. If you are testing a web application, I’m sure that you look at the product differently.
Change Microsoft Visual Studio to JetBrains Rider (or vice versa). Try using a different tool to test the API. Explore other solutions, it is quite possible that something new and more convenient for you has appeared.
Do you constantly get a testing branch where the project is not going to, or where you find bugs in the very first minutes? Or always find so many bugs? And while you still have a long line for testing? Study the heuristics of testing termination (yes, you can just take a raw branch and wrap it back), change the requirements for the input branch, involve your colleagues in testing. Or maybe some branches do not really need testing, the developer has already checked everything himself?
And sometimes it is very useful to simply take and transfer to the other end of the room, closer to the developers or other testers. Changing places will help refresh the view on work.
5. The role and responsibilities of the tester
My favorite. Explore who the tester is in neighboring teams, in other projects or even in other countries. We had an interview with James Bach at the DAMP conference , and some of the answers were just surprising. James has a completely different idea of who the tester is, whether there are automated machines, and that the most interesting thing in testing!
Go for a few interviews. Just go. You will find out what happens in other companies, what is valued in testers, what is expected of them.
Are you still making decisions about whether to release or not? Or do what managers usually do? Read Jerry Weinberg's book, Perfect Software And Other Illusions About Testing , and it will turn your world around! And then be sure to let your manager read.
Do you think quality assurance is the responsibility of the tester? James Bach in the same interview gave a good example of a guard at a military base.
Of course, you can simply guard the base, but you can also study why people want to penetrate this base, to do it with discipline in a military school. Does this mean that you can not protect the base? Of course not! Someone must guard. But, already in relation to testing, if you study and begin to implement something that will reduce the number of bugs, then yes, you can reduce the number of “guards”.
On the topic of quality assurance and growth testers at the same conference was a good talk-argument from Maxim.
Do you still think that there are automators and manual testers? Listen to James , listen to the report on how only developers write autotests in the project , or how the auto tester role in the team has evolved and now everyone in the team writes auto tests and donate a branch with only green tests to testing, including new feature tests .
What types of testing do you do? Only functional? And you can answer - why? And who is responsible for other species? Think, you may see some gaps.
Explore other roles, for example, how to write analytics (“ Modern methods of describing the functional requirements for the systems, ” by Alistair Cobern), who such a manager is and what he should do (“ Ideal manager ” Adizes). This will allow you to more understand other roles, their position. And also draw new ideas.
6. Something else
Testers communicate a lot with others and write a lot. We have to explain mistakes or try to ask questions when we come up with a terribly tricky situation. Therefore, develop these skills. For example, there is a good book by Maxim Ilyakhov and Lyudmila Sarycheva - “ Write, shorten ”. Just search for topics on the websites of publishers or stores .
Another unexpected idea - you can test yourself! Or your development! How did Ekaterina Bobrova .
What prevents us
Let's look at the most popular stop factors that prevent us from trying a different approach.
Not sure how to take the first step
Highlight a specific time, a specific task, you can even start with 15 minutes. And in these 15 minutes dig your topic, try something different. It is not necessary to try everything that was studied at once. Choose 1-3 new practices and try them out. The main thing is to do it every day. Such small steps will lead to great results. More on this is on the webinar with Ekaterina Lengold .
Fear of being wrong
Each of us, I think, was faced with the fear of making a decision to try something for the first time. What if I do not have enough competences and I will take the wrong decision, let the project down and my colleagues? It must be remembered that mistakes are the norm for the learning process. On them we understand how not to do it, which means we now know where to go. Recall the invention history of the light bulb. Edison spent about 2,000 experiments before reaching success.
- Tell me, Mr. Edison, what is it like to fail two thousand times in a row, trying to create one light bulb?
“Young man,” said Edison, “I was not at all mistaken two thousand times creating this light bulb.” I discovered one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine ways how not to make a light bulb.
In the book “ 100 ways to change life. Part 2 "Larisa Parfentieva talks about such a thing as information overload. Over time, we acquire knowledge, and this prevents us from quickly coping with tasks, making decisions, trying something new and taking risks. Because before trying, we begin to analyze, think through everything to the smallest detail and ... in the end, we never try.
The solution is simple - start at least with something. Just choose the first technique and try. You will either realize later that you made a mistake - and this is a good result, now you have experience and new information. In this case, take the following technique, approach. Either the equipment will take off, and then you will also win. When the writer herself has such a paralysis, she says to herself: “Yes, don't care!” And begins to write the first thing that comes to mind.
And here's another quote from Albert Einstein:
Everyone from childhood knows that this and that is impossible. But there is always an ignoramus who does not know this. He makes a discovery.
Not enough inspiration
Personally, I am inspired by colleagues, books about testing and not only , speeches and inventions of colleagues from another city, another country. I want to reach out for such people, create, do something useful and not stand still.
In the same book, Larisa Parfentieva shares the rule of success for actor and director Harold Ramis.
Find the most talented person in the room and, if it is not you, stay close to him. Follow him everywhere. Try to be helpful to him. And if one day it turns out that the most talented person in the room is you, look for another room.
Find what gives you energy, strength, charges you for change, and feed on it!
If you feel that you need a mentor, write on a piece of paper a list of 20 people who can come up, even if these are the most famous testers, contact these people. Someone from 20 definitely will not refuse you!
I will give one more quote from the book “ 100 Ways to Change Life. Part 2 ".
In people who achieve outstanding success, there is nothing special, which is not in any person! They are also indecisive, doubting themselves, reflecting, they are often mistaken, fall, sad, compare themselves with others, do not know what decision to take, and sometimes it is difficult for them to get out of bed. The only difference is that they constantly do something despite all this.
Try new techniques, new tools, invent your own. Choose the most everyday occupation and take care of it consciously. Change processes, revise your views. Come up with some crazy and interesting idea and try to embody it!
With this article we end the annual cycle “Calendar of the tester,” in which 16 Contour testers told about their work tools, practices and processes. For many of them it was a new experience, interesting and useful.
The world of testing is not limited to finding bugs, it has many facets and in this world you can and should experiment. Thank you for being with us :)
List of calendar articles:
Reasonable pair testing
Feedback: how it happens
Read the book
Testing analytics The
tester should catch the bug, read Kaner and organize the traffic
Metrics service in the QA service
Find out your client
Understand the backlog