Friday 28 June 2013

Test Early and Test Earlier...

Where does the testing process start? It is quite a change in mindset to get away from the concept of testers as "Defect Police. I've had a good few battles and it can take a long time to alter behaviours.

My mind is drawn to a conversation I had about writing test plans before development started. The QA in question looked shocked. "If the developers know what's going to be tested, they'll just write code to pass those tests. How will I catch them out?" It was then my turn to look shocked.

To me the role of a testing is way broader than catching out software engineers. If anything, they are the guardians of the product. Nothing should adversely affect the product, be that defects, or badly thought out requirements.

We do story analysis "just in time", rather than spending hours in painful and (I would argue) less than effective planning sessions. However, that does not mean that we should rush things.

It is important that we QA the story itself, before we start thinking about how to implement it. Testers have the expertise in finding the cracks. Looking for the edge cases, asking "What if..?". They should be looking at stories and asking the difficult questions, so that Product Owners are confident that their needs are being met, that there is a likely ROI, and developers are getting requirements with clear aims and without ambiguities.