Monday, April 13, 2015

The feeling of testing something new

During weekend, I did research on open source projects I'd like to use as test targets for testing courses. It needs to be something conceptually easy enough so that people don't get lost and focus energies on something other than learning testing. And for this particular time, it needed to be something simple enough yet deep enough for relevant bugs, with ability of actually building it from scratch. That is, I'm preparing with Llewellyn Falco for our workshop in XP2015 in Helsinki: Collaborative Exploratory and Unit Testing - How to harness the insight of bug discovery to protect your code.

Browsing through the options, I realized I was feeling uneasy, almost afraid. What if I would find software where I could not find bugs? What if I couldn't come up with insights of any kind? What if I can test the system I test at work,  but not other systems? On the other hand, I know that I know what I'm doing when testing. But facing a new system, I could not help but feeling like I was an impostor.

The feeling took me back to time three years ago, when I had been doing test management with way too little hands-on testing. I felt similar fear and uncertainty back then. I think I feel it with every system I start with, and it fades away as I grow into the product I'm testing.

The feeling passed quickly when I found insights of things that are missing and things that don't quite work. I started building a mindmap, collecting things I would need to look into and their connections. That alone made me feel useful, something tangible to tell the story of where I focused on was being created. But the bugs in particular gave back my confidence.

Knowing that I still have it is comforting: the ability to learn new products to find out how they might not provide the value they're expected to. I will need that when jumping into the world of unit testing. This workshop is about to be so much fun. See some of you there - XP2015 in end of May in Helsinki?