Michael Bolton and James Bach are friends with the same people: Cem Kaner, Doug Hoffman, Paul Holland, and James’s brother Jon. The material in their full-day tutorials at STAREast 2014 covered some of the same material I was exposed to at CAST 2013 and the BBST Foundations course I just finished. Luckily, Michael and James were good enough speakers that the techniques still felt fresh and motivating. I would have tweeted the following if this conference provided WiFi beyond the registration desk.
On prioritizing and finding bugs:
- Your clients are your boss, the development team and the customer in that order.
- Usability problems are also testability problems because they allow bugs to hide.
- Create a test plan before looking at the specification to generate more ideas.
- Describing your entire test plan allows others to participate in your thinking.
- The slowest test you can do is the test you don’t need to do.
- Testers should look for value in the software, not bugs.
- Memorizing types of heuristics and techniques will help you internalize them.
- Automated tests are like a check engine light; they only tell you where more investigation is needed.
- No amount of testing proves that the product always works.
On reporting bugs:
- Report bugs concisely.
- Treat boundary requirements as rumors.
- Separate observation from inference with safety language (i.e. “It appears to be broken” instead of “It’s broken”).
- Some things are so important or so embedded in the culture (tacit knowledge) that we don’t need to write them down (explicit knowledge).
- Testers should report bugs and issues. Bugs threaten the value of a product to someone who matters. Issues threaten the value of the testing or business.
- Testing reports should include the status of the product, how you tested it, and how good that testing was.
Important questions to ask without accusing:
- Can I ask you lots of questions?
- Is there any more information?
- Do you have any particular concerns?
- Is there a problem here?
- Can I help you with tasks you don’t like so you have more time to answer my questions?
On the testing profession:
- Testing is learning about a product through experimentation. And creating the conditions to make that happen. And building credibility with developers.
- Testing stops when our client has enough information to make a shipping decision.
- You will never have a complete specification.
- In Agile, everyone should be willing to help each other answer questions, not abandon their roles or expertise.
- It is emotionally draining to constantly be fighting with someone who can make your life difficult.
- Testing is the opposite of Hollywood: The older you are, the better it gets.
- Testers can’t fear doubt or complexity.
- A tester’s main job is not to be fooled.
- Bureaucracy is what people do when everyone has forgotten why they’re doing it.
- Our job is to tell developers their babies are ugly.
- Music and testing are a performance. Sheet music : music :: documents : testing.
- Apple makes you forget its products don’t work. Microsoft keeps reminding you.