Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Jan 23, 2022

How Testers Can Use Three Coaching Questions To Tell Better Testing Stories That Leave Their Stakeholders Well Informed About Their Work.

If nobody knows what testing you did, you may as well not have bothered.

Your great testing work is irrelevant if:

  • Nobody knows it happened.

  • It happened, but nobody could find any trace of it.

  • They can find it, but it's incomprehensible.

It's that last point that I'm going to help with!

Reflective Learning in coaching

What if you could examine your performance such that you could make immediate improvements next time?

Coaches do this using three steps. First, they recall the experience of their most recent coaching session. Then they examine the feelings they experienced during the session. Finally, they use these observations to make improvements next time.

They achieve this with three questions: What? So what? Now what?

What? Describe the situation.

Be objective about the critical aspects of the coaching session.

Some questions you might ask here are:

  • What did you see?

  • What did you do?

  • How did you react?

  • How did they react?

This step isn't about assigning meaning (that comes next!), just facts.

So what? Describe the significance.

Consider how you feel about the things you observed during the session.

Some questions you might ask here are:

  • What does this mean to you?

  • What's behind this meaning?

  • How does this knowledge change your thinking?

  • What did I base my reaction on?

This step is about understanding why things resonated with you.

Now what? Describe the impact.

Decide what the repercussions will be.

Some questions you might ask here are:

  • What have I learned?

  • What will you do differently next time?

  • What do I need to keep doing?

This step is about understanding what will change due to your new insight.

This parallels the testing story.

No pun intended, Vern, but... so what?

Oh, very funny 😐 . Allow me to explain!

When I've consulted with teams that are struggling with testing, it's because they cannot grasp at least one of the following:

  • What testing has occurred?

  • What was significant about that testing?

  • How should we use the information testing has unearthed?

Does that look familiar?

  • What testing has occurred? (What?)

  • What was significant about that testing? (So what?)

  • How should we use the information testing has unearthed? (Now what?)

With a few slight tweaks, we can turn those coaching questions into testing specific questions that help us describe the work we've done, why we think it's necessary and how to best use the information it's revealed!

Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Welcome to my blog! I write about: Coaching 📈 Software Quality 🕵🏾 Agile 🔁

Badges