I started my career in software testing back in 2010 when I was in my second year in college. Back then I really didn’t understand the depth of my job and its impact on the quality of the product. I was seeing the role of a tester more like ‘repeatable, routine-tolerant’ rather than ‘unpredictable, and meaningful’.
There’s this perception that testing is an entry-level job and can be performed by anyone. To some level it’s true, but once you want to master your craft and really take charge and pride of what is being released to your customers, you have to elevate your skills beyond just following script and orders step-by-step. Most of us can do that, but to be 10x better, faster, and stronger we constantly have to keep growing and try out new things.
When I got more and more into the role of a QA, I understood there was a higher level of intricacies involved, starting with a close collaboration between all stakeholders, from the product side to the users and customer support people. It’s an entire cycle that has to work.
And after working with hundreds of testers around the globe, here are the main aspects I consider key to delivering great quality from the testers perspective.
Understand your users
Who is using the product? What do they love most about it?
Why/ How/ When/ Where/ How much do they use it?
These are some of the questions any tester has to ask from themselves before starting to test. These basic questions help us understand the context of any situation and act accordingly.
If possible, try talking to one of your customers and ask them to use the product in front of you. It’s a great way to see how to set up your tests and determine priorities. The more you understand your customer, the better the tests you are able to create.
The better you are able to relate to your customer base, the better results you’ll get. And the better you’ll understand their pain points, the faster you’ll be able to solve them and push through.
Collaborate with your team
Great communication and collaboration between teams are crucial for any company to succeed. It’s kind of a no-brainer, that if you sit in your own corner without any interaction doing the bare minimum, you’ll not get too far nor will people enjoy working with you. The more you get to know your team members, the more trust will be created. The more we share, the better we get. Remember, growing together is better!
When I was at my first job, I remember being super-mega shy. I didn’t have any confidence when it came to throwing my ideas on the table (I didn’t have many either) and I was more of a quiet observer. But did it help anyone, my team or myself when I was just quietly sitting? Obviously no.
As a tester, talk with your team members, understand their goals, ambitions. Be cooperative. When you’ve built trust, you can challenge your team on decisions that are being made. Healthy conflict helps build even more trust within a team. But remember we all compete with time, so you need to find a balance between generating the work and actually doing the work — testing.
Ask more questions
As a tester, you have to be incredibly curious and constantly explore and learn about the product. The more context you get, the better.
When I was interviewed in London for a job, I didn’t get the traditional job interview – instead, a wristwatch was put on the table in front of me and I was asked how I would test it. When I was starting my career in testing, I would immediately jump into assumptions and say things like ‘I’d check if the watch would handle massive weight or temperature changes’. And although these might be real-life situations when the customer uses the product, I now would have started by asking questions first: Who, When, Why? To understand the context.
It’s easy to make assumptions whereas it’s more important to seek understanding about why things are the way they are.
Know when to pull the brake
As testers, we could obviously test any product forever. There are no limits when it comes to creating test scripts and finding ways to break them. Just as there an infinite number of ways to use the product, there could be an infinite number of issues to uncover. But you have to ask yourself as well as your team, what is the acceptable version? What types of tests should we cover to be able to release with confidence?
In the world of agile, where most companies compete for the same customers, being fast while maintaining high quality is the key to success. Being able to move at the speed of your customers’ demands, is what separates great products from those that aren’t.
Find partners to increase coverage
In a world, where everybody tries to be global, it can be very challenging to get great coverage with existing internal resources.
In order to be productive and efficient, most companies involve external partners throughout their development cycle. Better coverage means more consistency, reliability and user experience.
Ready to make a difference? Join our community of testers today!