Michael Bolton first highlighted the difference between testing and checking. The output of checks are binary results (true/false, on/off, black/white). Checks can be executed by humans or automatically by machines. The output of testing is questions, facts and information. Tests can only be executed by humans. Unfortunately, a lot of people continue to use these words interchangeably which can lead to confusion and mistakes. To become better testers, I believe we need to start with the basics; our vocabulary. Continue reading
Little consideration is given to the opportunity cost of automation. What are the implications to the quality of software being delivered? What do we lose by focusing on the automated/coding skills of testers and ignoring their “true testing skills”? Automation is an important cog in the delivery of software but there are limits to its benefit which aren’t always fully recognised. When making decisions about automation, we all need to understand its limits and associated costs; it’s opportunity cost.
To test is to think creatively.
Working in agile environments, rather than more traditional ones, demand much more of their testers. Testers need to balance their innate bias for quality with the need for shipping working software to customers asap. Testers need to adapt to this changing environment, and fast!
Testers need to be creative, not artistic
For me, creativity simply means problem-solving. Even though the words “artistic” and “creative” are used interchangeably by most, they have different, although related meanings. Being artistic is a gift the lucky few are blessed with. Being creative is something you choose to be. It’s the way you choose to view problems. It’s the lens you see the world through. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on the problem solving/creativity side of things, not the artistic side. The side we all possess but most ignore. Sir Ken Robinson’s explains why and where we lost our creative way in his Ted Talk about creativity.