characteristics of testing


A new PM just joined my team, and he scheduled time to come talk to me about the role
of testing in our product development.  While thinking about what I would tell
him, the following (possibly unrelated) question popped into my head:

"What are the special or unique skills and contributions of a good tester?"

Right off the top of my head, three things occurred to me:

First, a good tester knows where the bugs are.  This is related to what Windows
testing calls "test buckets" - good testers know to check for bad parameters, know
to check for multithreaded issues, run their tests long-haul and stress, and sometimes
for the hell of it they disconnect the network cable.  A good tester has a voluminous
dictionary of possible attacks, and knows which ones are most likely to find problems
in particular scenarios.

Second, a good tester knows their tools.  This means that they know how to use
MadDog, or WTT.  It also means they know how to use the conceptual tools of the
testing trade; things like equivalence classes and pair-wise testing.  They are
professionals who know the standard tools of their profession, and keep an eye out
for the new ones.

Third, a good tester takes and has responsibility in the software development process. 
They can allow or block a product release.  They can appropriately measure product
metrics, and use these to help drive product planning.  They understand our software
development process, and do everything they can to make it run smoothly.

Comments (2)
  1. Atilla says:

    I would like to ask that if these tools does not change from company to company. I mean Microsoft could use these but a small company would not be able to afford them. How can you select a tool from others. I mean Lets say that I gave my spend time to learn and master a tool. And If I change company. My time which is spent on the tool will be obsolete and I have to start learning a new tool ? Or most of these tools have similar API’s, similar usage?

  2. Unfortunately, we aren’t in a ‘one size fits all’ situation with testing tools. Different tools are appropriate in different situations.

    Maybe someday someone will develop a set of test tools that is clearly superior to everything else out there, and we can all standardize on that. Until then I guess we’ll muddle through as best we can.

Comments are closed.

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