If you have ever been in a room with a small child, then you know that they LOVE to ask questions.

Why is the sky blue? What are clouds made of? Why do cats meow? No matter how many times you answer their questions, they can always come up with more.

As we grow older, we continue to ask questions. But these have less to do with our natural curiosity and are instead designed to guide us in our day-to-day tasks. All too often, we tend to avoid asking questions so as not to embarrass ourselves or feel incompetent.

At any time, a software tester can work with several different developers, and on applications with totally different functionalities. Sometimes, the tester can be working on completely different applications on the same day. A tester should not expect to always be able to jump right into a project without acquiring more information.

And how do we get that information? By asking questions.

Why should I ask questions?

A tester may ask questions to clarify a certain direction or requirement set by the developers. A tester may also ask how a feature should function or look within the software, to better determine if there is a bug. Most importantly, if you don’t ask questions, you may be led to make assumptions about how something works—hindering your ability to test it properly.

To whom should I direct questions?

If the question is more general, such as how to set up the application or testing device, the project chat is a great choice. This will allow other experienced testers working on the same project to help.

If the question is specific to a feature or area that you are assigned to test, the best person to ask may be the Test Lead for that project. The other testers are likely not working on the exact same feature or build that you are. The Test Lead has an overall understanding of the project and should be able to answer all questions specific to your assignment.

The reality is that when testers don’t ask questions, they prevent themselves from learning and gaining the experience needed to help others.

Asking questions may seem daunting. Especially if you are new to testing, you may feel like a pest for always asking questions.

Do not fret. Testers are trying to accomplish the best results possible and are more than happy to help others to achieve this goal. Ask away!

This post by Cristian Gutierrez is part of a new series written by our community of testers.

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