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Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

Vernon Richards | Quality Coach

November 16, 2022

What Non-Testers Need To Know About Testing: Learn How To See More Than The Actions.

"Testers just click a few buttons."

This is a verbatim quote from a senior dev friend (yes, we're still friends!). I've heard words to that effect from other non-testing software development peers on many occasions. If that's you, I've written this with you in mind! Please read to the end. SPOILER ALERT: I'm going to explain how that position is unhelpful!

But first, let's play devil's advocate.

How might it be true?

Here's the thing, we do click a few buttons!

Functional GUI testing, in particular, requires keystrokes to be made here, things to be typed out there, buttons to be pressed, radio buttons to be selected, check boxes to be, er, checked and on and on and on! i.e. if you sit and watch a tester work, you'll likely see all of the above.

How does that compare to their teammates?

What makes it false?

Let's play a little game.

Do we say that

  • π——π—²π˜ƒπ˜€ press a few keys?

  • π—£π—±π— π˜€ write a few words?

  • π—˜π— π˜€ make a few decisions?

  • π——π—²π˜€π—Άπ—΄π—»π—²π—Ώπ˜€ draw a few lines?

No, of course we don't!

So what's the difference?

Testers and testing have a perception problem.

I suspect it's because everyone has found bugs at some point. Or, it's more accurate to say they've stumbled into them during everyday life, let alone while being part of a delivery team. Combining that with the fact that we can easily observe testers clicking a few buttons, we have a perfect storm for misunderstandings!

Ask yourself, what aren't you seeing?

Let's go back to the tester's teammates!

Take another look at the other roles.

  • π——π—²π˜ƒπ˜€ press a few keys? But which keys to press and when and in what order to achieve what outcome?

  • π—£π—±π— π˜€ write a few words? But which words to convey what information for what purpose?

  • π—˜π— π˜€ make a few decisions? But which decisions for what reason for which people at what time?

  • Designers draw a few lines? But which lines with which tools to help which users?

Try doing a similar exercise with the testers in your life. You might be surprised at what you learn!