I’ve had this blog post in draft for about 5 months now but yesterday morning a twitter post inspired me to finally get it published. It was a link to an article from Yvette Francino and included in it was a video interview (brief one) with James Bach. http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/software-quality/james-bach-the-buccaneer-tester/
I would suggest anyone who has even the slightest interest in testing reads this article and watches the video. The video is inspiring; it’s direct, it’s James’ usual straight talking no nonsense stuff and it’s also incredibly motivating.
A few months ago I put out a blog post about plagiarism and copyright that generated some incredibly heated comments as well as direct mails and tweets along the same topic. I studied the comments and concluded that they all alluded to the three following sentiments:
We should not challenge the best practices of testing
We should not challenge the experts in testing
We should not talk about testing publicly
unless we are an expert or we know the experts.
The comments left on the post intrigued me. It re-enforced my belief that many people in the testing community simply follow the leader. They love best practices. They love the norm. They do what others say is right. They strive for conformance. They don’t ask “is there a better way of doing this”. They don’t challenge things.
I had a fairly heated exchange at a testing conference with someone who refused to believe that testers should ever make suggestions for new ways of doing thing, improvements to workflow, improved designs, enhanced usability or the changing/modification of features in the software they test. They didn’t think it was their job. For real? Not your job? Then what is your job? It turns out that running scripted test cases based on a spec written months ago, that had locked in a whole load of ignorance with a design created to solve a problem that actually didn’t exist, or did exist but now doesn’t. That’s what a testers job is apparently. Not in my book.
I believe that when a team/tester doesn’t question the norm it leads to stale testing, uncreative work environments, bored staff, uninspiring tests, dull testing jobs. Sadly that’s the stereotype image of testing. In fact, it’s not just a stereotype, it’s a reality for many.
So I bring you this advice:
We absolutely should challenge the best practices of testing (if they actually exist)
We absolutely should challenge the experts in testing (it’s good for the industry)
We absolutely should talk about testing regardless of whether we are an industry expert (who says we are/are not experts…is there a list? How do I apply?)
So why not write that blog post, submit your talk to that conference, challenge the Best Practice at work, challenge the heavy scripted testing, introduce some exploratory testing sessions, drop a metric in your report, provide something different to the people that matter, learn some coding, challenge the experts if you don’t believe they are right……….?
To sum up what this post is saying:
Don’t be a follower. Be a tester.