More Lessons from James Bach and Michael Bolton’s “Rapid Software Testing”

I’ve mentioned Jame Bach and Michael Bolton’s ‘Rapid Software Testing’ ebook before. I am citing their resource once more today because they’re worth revisiting again and again, for software testers. Many of the things I’ve come to believe in about software testing are here, explained well in interesting lists, charts, and descriptions. Such are the things that junior software testers need to fully understand, as well as the stuff that seniors should thoroughly teach.

Quoting some lines from the slides:

  • All good testers think for themselves. We look at things differently than everyone else so that we can find problems no one else will find.
  • In testing, a lot of the methodology or how-tos are tacit (unspoken). To learn to test you must experience testing and struggle to solve testing problems.
  • Asking questions is a fundamental testing skill.
  • Any “expert” can be wrong, and “expert advice” is always wrong in some context.
  • The first question about quality is always “whose opinions matter?” If someone who doesn’t matter thinks your product is terrible, you don’t necessarily change anything. So, an important bug is something about a product that really bugs someone important. One implication of this is that, if we see something that we think is a bug and we’re overruled, we don’t matter.
  • It’s not your job to decide if something is a bug. You do need to form a justified belief that it might be a threat to product value in the opinion of someone who matters, and you must be able to say why you think so.
  • In exploratory testing, the first oracle to trigger is usually a personal feeling. Then you move from that to something more explicit and defensible, because testing is social. We can’t just go with our gut and leave it at that, because we need to convince other people that it’s really a bug.
  • Find problems that matter, rather than whether the product merely satisfies all relevant standards. Instead of pass vs fail, think problem vs no problem.
  • How do you think like a tester? Think like a scientist, think like a detective. Learn to love solving mysteries.
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