Friday, September 7, 2018

Three Kinds Of Testing

This week brought me a couple of reminders of a past I wish I had left behind, but one that is still very much day to day to some other testers. This is a past of writing test cases. And when I say writing test cases, I mean the non-automated kind. The documents that help drive testing. The idea that if only we wrote them well enough, anyone could pitch in to any of the testing.

There are organizations that put careful thought into their test case documentation. I'm lucky to be in an organization that puts careful thought into their test execution with emphasis on learning.

Some weeks ago I tweeted that I donated think we need to use both automated and exploratory testing because these are not the same. With this weeks realizations, I think there is three kinds of testing.

There's the kind of testing I work with. I would call that exploratory testing. It engulfs smart use of tools, programming and even regression test automation in a frame of learning.

There's the kind of testing that test case folks work with. I would call that manual testing. It includes creation of manual procedures for testing, with emphasis on planning ahead of time not so much on learning.

And then there's the kind of testing that all too many test automation folks do. They take a manual test idea, turn it to automation so that whatever is hard is left out. They take their "designs for tests" from somewhere outside their own work.

The first kind is really the only kind. And people doing that kind of testing may identify as testers, test automation specialists, or software developers. It's not about the role, but about the mindset of learning through empirical evidence that seeks to disprove to build a stronger case for the idea that things might work after all.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Maaret, I think that I understand why you make the distinction between "kind 1" and "kind 2", but I don't understand why you say that "The first kind is really the only kind" (of testing)?

    The only difference between "kind 1" and "kind 2" is the outcome that is produced. Although, "kind 2" creates a test case, that creation process is still surrounded by many (exploratory) testing skills. I think James Bach put it this way: In the case of test case creation the tester identifies a risk, then translates this risk into a test idea, and then expresses this test idea into one or more yes-or-no questions that are then turned into one or more artefacts called test cases. I think all this requires a testing skill.

    I guess it just boils down to the question how you define testing? It would be great to know how you define testing to allow me to understand why "kind 2" is not (really) testing?

    Best, Ingo.