Sunday, 2 May 2010

Testing Style: "Eyes Wide Shut" vs "Eyes Wide Open"

 #softwaretesting #qa #testing ;

What's your approach to testing?

What first impressions do you get from "eyes wide shut" and "eyes wide open" as applied to testing?

Let me do a quick mind-dump, word association thing - the order below is exactly how it turned out - I then went back to add a bit of detail between the bullet-points. You'll have to excuse the odd Monty Python moment...

Eyes Wide Shut

  • Parrot
I suspect I was primed by the recent video interview with James Bach about bucanneer testing and parrots.
  • Rote
Following word-for-word - no deviation.
  • Led
Following and willing to be led. Whilst this may be good and necessary in some test activities, I think this is in the minority of cases.
  • Sheep
Probably primed by Rob Lambert's recent agricultural reference (actually a serious post!)
  • Blind
Not looking around.
  • Sensory deprived
Not using all information inputs.
  • No questions
Just follow the guide/script/instructions even if it doesn't make sense.
  • Lemming
Can lead to the black swan event of all "eyes wide shut" testers.
  • Same-old same-old
No change, never change, comfort zone, safe. Perfect candidate for automation.

Eyes Wide Open

  • Searching
Using the script/test idea as a guide - an incomplete map.
  • Alert
  • Observant
  • All senses in use
These three are very similar - when the tester is switched on and ready to react, think ahead and even pre-empt.
    • In the zone
    When all senses are engaged and the tester is questioning the product it's similar to the sporting equivalent of being "in the zone".
    • Feedback
    The tester is questioning to give good feedback. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Questioning is our main tool, questioning and feedback, ohh...
    • Exploratory
    Map-making in real time!
    • Investigative
    The best of journalistic and scientific investigation - following-up on previous experience, hints and clues with the information in front of you.
    • Ideas
    The activity generates new ideas - either for further testing, how to solve test problems, feedback on the product or how to improve the product.

    Note, I don't consider this as scripted vs non-scripted. I consider it more "good testing" vs "not-good testing" (I place no other emphasis on it than that...)
    There are some cases where scripted testing is necessary (even a legal requirement) and others where it's needed as a guide.

    My take on buccaneer testing and parrots - they are different species and unless the parrot is supposed to do everything-by-rote then it's the "eyes wide shut" case. I've got another take that I'll expand on in another post.
    Of course, if the parrot is a Norwegian Blue then it definitely ain't dead and it's actually very good testing! :-)

    Do your own word association and see what you come up with!

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