At STP Con last April, a respected colleague suggested I blog. When I returned home, I was motivated enough to list a half-dozen or more bloggable topics but had never got as far as publishing (creating this account was energy enough – that’s a blog entry for another time). The combination of Pete Walen’s recent thoughts on what it means to be a tester, Keith Klain’s comments about seeking, developing, and retaining talent, and a few recent experiences in testing and recruiting created a tipping point within me.
I’m inspired to declare a testing platform. The platform is a satchel of ideas, methods, and cognitions I use to work in a testing role. When I am assigned to a project, the team can expect me to exhibit behaviors, attitudes, and work as described by the platform.
I follow this energetic community with its schools, its methodologies, its certifications, its opinions on all things testing. I think about the tweets, I reflect on blogs, I experiment with concepts, and I consider the practical and the outrageous so that I might be a better tester. This world, this swirling world, of testing ideas has impacted my engineering-disciplined training and background to produce this stance. My platform.
I champion product testing because I want to discover and report on its behavior for the benefit of our business stakeholder. When I test, my purpose is to provide valuable, timely, valid, and actionable information about a product.
I develop and maintain skills in many testing aspects (both technical skills and soft skills) to deliver awesome testing services to the project. My most important skill is thinking: thinking about the problem, thinking about possible solutions, and thinking about the story told from testing results. While I bring many testing techniques to bear on a testing problem, none are as valuable or as beneficial as the ability to take the time (the time between the problem’s presentation and its possible solutions) to think.
I seek to establish and maintain my credibility on every project through purposeful and meaningful interactions, and collaborative behavior. My credibility is valuable because I realize the tests I perform, results I report, and the defects I log carry more validity with credibility than without it.
I review and analyze definitions of existing or planned product behavior to explore their meaning. Where there might be misinterpretation, or multiple interpretations, I engage in dialog or prototypes to clarify the definition.
I practice writing to improve my word usage and vocabulary, and I explore alternative words or phrases that convey my thoughts and ideas as clearly and creatively as possible.
I advocate for a testable product. I advocate for testability because a product that is transparent in its operation requires fewer resources to investigate, eases discovery and learning, and encourages dialog between product builder and product evaluator. The dialog serves to reduce mistakes, enhance the quality, and the dialog is a platform to explore testability.
I provides estimates based on my understanding of the information available at the time of estimate. As my understanding grows, I amend the estimate as often as necessary to assist in planning. My estimate includes a probability of meeting it based on factors I control and on factors of which I have little or no knowledge. I welcome and encourage a discussion around the components of my estimate.
My estimate is rarely a promise.
I use technology to extend testing reach and coverage, to explore, and to simplify and accelerate testing work. I use technology this way because I believe it improves the product quality, and assists in meeting project schedules. I learn new technology to maintain and grow my understanding in the products I evaluate.
I use automation for the benefit of verification, to reduce project cost and length, to support product growth, and to support product maintenance. I approach automation in this manner because poorly designed automation costs too much, wastes time, and produces questionable results.
When you engage me in conversation, I respond with an attitude and expectation of collaboration. I want to collaborate with you because we are not only on the project together, we are a team of people bringing skills and passion together to build something cool.
In my opinion, we need a platform to help describe to others what we do, how we think, and what they should expect. I believe I live my platform however there have been failures and false starts – all by which I learn and grow. I want to re-visit my platform in a year to investigate changes and differences. I’m interested to learn your thoughts and invite you to comment below.