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Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

February 4, 2022

What Making Toast Can Teach Us About The Difference Between Quality Engineering And Testing.

How do you make a tasty slice of toast?

The testing role has undergone quite a lot of change over the past few years. I started as a "Games Tester" back in the day. My job was to find critical bugs quickly, definitely before we created the gold master and sent (dare I say shipped!) it for replication, then distributed it to games stores nationwide. Lately, my role has been some variation of "Quality Engineer". Is there a difference? I believe so, and that's what I'm going to explain.

But back to the toast.

The toast making process.

Nobody likes a burnt piece of toast!

What's your toast making process? Think about it before you read on. Seriously! Done? Ok! Mine looks like this:

  1. Take a slice of white bread.

  2. Put the bread into the toaster.

  3. Set the toaster to juuuust under level 3.

  4. Take the toast out while it's warm.

  5. Use a knife to cover the toast in spread and then strawberry jam.

  6. Enjoy!

I guarantee this will produce the perfect piece of toast for you 🤤 !!!

How do you know when you have a quality piece of toast?

Scrumptiousness is in the tastebuds of the eater (er... or something)!

Well, if you're like me, it's at the end of when the toast is prepared and ready for your first bite! The first bite tells you everything you need to know about how yummy the toast is!

My mouth is watering just thinking about it 🤤 !!!

What affects the tastiness of the toast?

It's warm toast or bust for me!

But that's not all. I like a particular brand of white bread for a start (wassup Warburtons 👋🏾 ). The toast must be golden brown (no carbon, damn it!), it must be a plant-based spread, and I don't like chunks of strawberry in my jam. If any of those things is off, it's unlikely I'm going to eat much less enjoy the toast.

Also, this is subjective as hell! Your toast making process is probably wrong different to mine, so your definition of quality will be wrong different to mine.

You probably see where I'm going with this 😇 .

Now back to software!

How do you build your product?

Tasting is testing. Making sure the bread, toaster, temperature, spread, and jam are right THEN tasting it is Quality Engineering! In other words, if you wait until the end of your value chain before interacting with the product, you're testing. If you leverage your testing skills and expectations throughout the process, including testing, you're quality engineering.

And that's all there is to it!


A few words to the wise:

  • This isn't an either-or!

    • Ignoring what happened before the product gets to testing will make things more difficult or slower to test.

    • Ignoring testing increases the odds you'll be blindsided by all manner of things you couldn't predict those pesky users would do in the wild!

    • In other words, try incorporating both kinds of work into what you do.

I hope that makes sense because I have to stop explaining and deal with my rumbling stomach 😅 🤤!