Anyone who has effectively tested software understands that there is more than meets the eye with this occupation. Bugs come in all shapes and sizes and finding one can, at times, be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Unfortunately, software development is increasingly fast paced and there aren't enough hours in the day for testers to look into every nook and cranny of a piece of software. Finding the bugs that count is what really matters at the end of the day. But how does one define and find these bugs?
Like a thumb print, the process that every tester uses is completely unique. At the end of the day, being creative is the only way that someone is going to find the stealthiest of bugs. Whether through exploratory or scripted, our tests are based on how we see the software and its innards. Like playing a musical instrument, there are many ways to play the same scale or chord and how we play it is going to sound different than someone else playing that same song.
Some of it has to do with how we perceive the music, but some of it is also how we want to express ourselves through the music. The same goes for testing. We can be creative in our approaches to testing and that’s how we find different defects than the other tester sitting next to you.
With the help of Scott Barber and Matt Lowe, I had a chance to grab some of the more well-known of the Agile community and ask them their thoughts about creativity in testing software and how that it is affected by quick iterations.
Our first victim of the day was the Vice President of Product Development at Taxware, Matt Barcomb. Matt goes on to tell us that if someone was not using the creative process while testing software that this would be a serious concern. To my second question about the loss of creativity in an Agile environment with a time crunch, Matt was quick to point out there may be some other underlying issues when there is little time to test creatively.