Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Testing Culture

Where to start? I have been in the software testing industry for nearly 11 years now, worked in some fantastic teams, and some not so good. Worked on some interesting projects that were a joy to be involved with and have worked on others that were akin to the eighth circle of hell.

When I thought about doing this I was not sure what to write about. After taking a swing about some other testing type blogs I quickly came to the conclusion there seem to be a lot more erudite and knowledgeable people out there than I am. From the ones that I read, they were all technically brilliant, with lovingly and concisely written prose about the subject of testing. It left me thinking I could never compete with these people; I may as well give up and write about cheese and pickle sandwiches.

I then went back and took another look to see what was missing from them, and its one subject that I think is overlooked in the testing world and that’s us. How do we deal with certain situations, like a 6 foot three developer who has not slept for three days standing over you yelling at you stop raising defects. Why do project managers seem to think that testing is something that is done quickly and if things are going badly it’s the test team that have the time robbed from them. You know “Oh you really don’t need to do all that” and the test manager gets the “descope” red pen out. Weeks later the same people are the TM’s desk jumping up down about a production bug flapping about “why didn’t you find it”.

There is then the relationship we have with the business and our role in the project. When do we start talking to the business? Should we wait till everything is done and dusted before we start our analysis? When does the test team simply say “You are having a laugh we ‘aint testing any more!”? One TA told me about the experience of going on to project and asking if they could talk to someone in the business about the possibility of reading some documents. You know to get a feel of what the applications were like, stuff like that. Once the rest of the room had recovered from their fits of laughter the TA was told that they were actively discouraged from talking anyone in the business. I want to write about fun stuff too, what the best music to test to? Things like that...

I guess I want to write about the “Culture of Testing” in the real world, I might leave the more academic musings to those who are good at it. I don’t want to have the sort of ISEB vrs ISTQB or this matrix is wayyyy better than this matrix debates. Which leads me into the one area that I have been thinking about for a while now; can the testing process be over processed? Thought I would toss that out.

So there you go not all what I wanted to say on the first post but you have to start somewhere. Blogging will be light as I am in the middle of one of those eighth circle of hell projects that I mentioned above, just as well the team I am in one of the great ones!

If you have surfed in on to this blog and you are tester and got the skinny on anything you want me to relate to the wider world the drop me a line at I will of course change names and places and add a lots of swear words.

1 comment:

  1. Dude! Duuude...

    You will be surprised what you can write and comment on. Your experiences will be unique and will have value in both the personal/cultural and technical realms. So don't be afraid to write about either one of them.

    And at times don't let the chuckles of others discourage you from going and doing what you think you need to do to get the job done. They don't know what they don't know, and because of it they are short-sighted. Open their eyes a bit.

    Good luck with this.