When I read anything: weather it’s my next task description (i.e. written by PM who knows little about testing) or blog (by a person who probably know less than me about testing) and it does not make sense, seems stupid or wrong … I try to remember that this is my first reaction. Even if PM is amateur at testing they know about project, customer, developers, etc. something I don’t know. So there should be information for me to learn to make the task reasonable. And to make me an effective task performer.
But I fail sometimes to resist the reaction and look for more information. I want to confess a few of my recent failures in this blog.
First story: testing project
We started a new performance testing project recently. When I first read what the customer want us to do I said to my Boss: I don’t want this project because I think I’m not the best person for this. I can do the job but it will take me more time than it would take any php developer. I’m afraid customer will not be satisfied with my performance. Besides it will be a boring coding job.
Nonetheless we started the project. And it turned out to be one of the most interesting projects I’ve ever been in. And I have already received message that our customers are very satisfied with our performance so far (and the project is only beginning).
What I did wrong: assumptions
I have a great experience in performance testing, especially estimating, planning and managing them. But for this project my evaluation was completely wrong. I remember that I was wondering – why the customer want as to do this job? The developer who wrote this (server) application should be able to write script that load system with data in a few hours time. We will spend weeks learning and configuring their product and technologies. It appears they knew something I didn’t. They know that scripting all alone isn’t enough. They knew that running tests alone isn’t enough – there are problems to be investigated and traced down to the real causes. There are a lot of those tasks where I could use my testing skills and experience and only a small part of the task required the programming skills.
One more case: blog comments
In forums and even more in blogs we are talking about problems and analyzing possible solutions. Sometimes problem (and the solution as a result) seems trivial. Whenever it does I become suspicious – perhaps I just don’t know the details. There is a chance that author is uneducated, but it seems to me that at least in STC forum the change is not very big.
Recently I did a mistake reading a comment to one of my previous blog. It was not stated very clearly, so I misinterpret it in a wrong way. I will try to never ever read any comments to my blog as “if I were you then I would…” but instead “if I would face such a problem…”. Because reader reads my problem ant try to apply that problem to their context, their company culture, their school of testing if you like. And quite often conclusions are quite surprising to myself” not only they are not helpful for me, they simply does not make sense. But I have to remember that they could make sense to other readers who are in the context close to commenter’s one and far from mine.
Context: the active part of community
The other day I was thinking – maybe the problem with blogs and forums is this: people who contribute their comments to blogs and forums are typically test managers, who (quite naturally) are used to admonish, guide and direct people (assuming “I’m the most experienced person who’s duty is to have answers to all question”). Well that’s another assumption that is based on my own context :)