I’ve just spent the last 10 minutes trying to control what I believe are the emotions of rage, laughter and despair.
I’ve just got the results back from my participation in the Advanced System Testing Groups “Software Testing Skills Assessment” pilot. And boy did I laugh. I laughed at just how badly I had done. I got just 39%. Maybe I should consider a new career. After 10 years I’m obviously not cut out for the world of software testing. Well, the world of certified, standardised, poorly structured, no customer contact and no business contact software testing.
After I managed to control my laughter I entered a small, but perfectly agreeable fit of rage. I’d realised just how little information came back to me from the questions I fired off during the test and just how many assumptions Advanced System Testing Groups had made in creating these supposedly insightful assessments.
I then entering a stage of despair as it dawned on me that this way of testing the tester could well be adopted and embraced by unknowing industries and create yet another exam and certification.
So why do I disagree so strongly? Well here’s my reasoning’s:
- The test had no real world time limit which resulted in no risk based testing (even though they claim to have assessed against that….Advanced System Testing Groups – how were you assessing my ability to do risk based testing when I had plenty time to complete all tests and questions with no commercial pressures or reporting deadlines?)
- The pilot had no point of contact for questions or feedback or concerns (I fired some off via email and got nothing back)
- The test results sheet only allowed for one defect per feature (even though some testers were reporting more than one, this was not counted (or appeared not to be))
- The test application itself was so archaic and old fashioned (written as an MS access app) that in today’s modern world it seemed inappropriate, certainly for my context. It also didn’t open properly in my latest version of MS access.
- The instructions were not very clear
- There was no opportunity to test or report on performance, networks, security etc etc
- They were measuring using ISEB/ISTQB/IEEE techniques, which although very valid techniques, are not the best measure of test effectiveness (I worked with a tester once who spent so much time preparing flow, loop and data state diagrams that he left just 3 days for testing the app….)
- There were no measures for good communication, passion and pro-activeness, usability, accessibility, test case quality, exploratory testing charter quality, defect reporting, ability to learn etc
- The measures are the assessors measures of what makes a competent software tester, not mine, not my peers or colleagues – well of those I know well anyway. Is their assessment right? Can anyone truly assess the value of a tester when the industry is so varied and complex with so many overlapping roles?
- They bring each and every person down to one level. They assume a tester on the floor using the assessed technique checking all day will also be competent in a highly volatile, commercial decision meeting where a strong personality and commercial clout is needed. They bring a one level assessment to every single tester, in every single role, in every single company – and this is flawed.
- They ignore the commercial and market pressures found in the environment
- They ignore test data, test environments, accessibility, usability, performance and load etc.
- They ignore the human traits so very much needed to work in a testing role.
- They essentially apply a best practice to software testing. And surely we all know by now this simply does not exist.
- They ignore the communication skills needed to truly reflect the defect, report the metrics, communicate to the developer, raise the right level of priority etc
- And no doubt more I can’t bring to mind at the moment. Someone want to help me out?
Anyway. Enough ranting. I’ve decided I’m going to create my own assessment, pilot it, sell it, make millions from a certification and then retire safe in the knowledge I’ve brought standards and Best Practices to testing. Or I could just continue doing the best job I can, offer my services for mentoring, continue to offer hands on exploratory testing sessions and help to build a social community in testing where real value can be gained from sharing experiences and ideas. Millions….or career integrity……….