Testing Doesn’t Improve the Product

(This post is adapted from my recent article on LinkedIn.) Out there in the world, there is a persistent notion that “preventing problems early in the software development process will lead to higher-quality products than testing later will”. That isn’t true. It’s untrue, but not for the reason that might first occur to most people. The issue is not that addressing problems early on is a bad idea. That’s usually … Read more

“Why Didn’t We Catch This in QA?”

My good friend Keith Klain recently posted this on LinkedIn: “Why didn’t we catch this in QA” might possibly be the most psychologically terrorizing and dysfunctional software testing culture an organization can have. I’ve seen it literally destroy good people and careers. It flies in the face of systems thinking, complexity of failure, risk management, and just about everything we know about the psychology involved in testing, but the bully … Read more

I Represent the User! And We All Do

As a tester, I try to represent the interests of users. Saying the user, in the singular, feels like a trap to me. There are usually lots of users, and they tend to have diverse and sometimes competing interests. I’d like to represent and highlight the interests of users that might have been forgotten or overlooked. There’s another trap, though. As Cem Kaner has pointed out, it’s worth remembering that … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (30): Checking and Measuring Quality

This is an expansion of some recent tweets. Do automated tests (in the RST namespace, checks) measure the quality of your product, as people sometimes suggest? First, the check is automated; the test is not. You are performing a test, and you use a check—or many checks—inside the test. The machinery may press the buttons and return a bit, but that’s not the test. For it to be a test, … Read more

Taking Severity Seriously

There’s a flaw in the way most organizations classify the severity of a bug. Here’s an example from the Elementool Web site (as of 14 January, 2015); I’m sure you’ve seen something like it: Critical: The bug causes a failure of the complete software system, subsystem or a program within the system. High: The bug does not cause a failure, but causes the system to produce incorrect, incomplete, inconsistent results … Read more

Software Testing Masterclass with Michael Bolton

EuroSTAR Conferences, with the support of ISA Software Skillnet, Irish Software Innovation Network and SoftTest, were delighted to bring you a half-day software testing masterclass with Michael Bolton In this session, Michael Bolton (who has extensive experience as a tester, as a programmer, and as a project manager) explained the role of skilled software testers, and why you might not want to think of testing as “quality assurance”. He present … Read more

Why Would a User Do THAT?

If you’ve been in testing for long enough, you’ll eventually report or demonstrate a problem, and you’ll hear this: “No user would ever do that.” Translated into English, that means “No user that I’ve thought of, and that I like, would do that on purpose, or in a way that I’ve imagined.” So here are a few ideas that might help to spur imagination. The user made a simple mistake, … Read more

Exegesis Saves (Part 3) Beyond the Bromides

Over the last few blog posts, some colleagues and I have been analyzing this sentence: “In successful agile development teams, every team member takes responsibility for quality.” Now, in one sense, it’s unfair for me to pick on this sentence, because I’ve taken it out of context. It’s not unique, though; a quick search on Google reveals lots of similar sentences: “Agile teams work in a more collaborative and open … Read more