Oana: Bad Habits During Testing Activities

A bad habit that I’ve been trying to get rid of for years: when I start a testing project I tend to focus too much on the results and too little on people.

How does this abstract idea manifests in real life? Here is how…

It’s been 2 weeks since we’ve started a new project. We have to help a team in the US to do a final round of testing before the product reaches the beta testing phase. It is a very tight schedule and we’ve missed the first two days of testing because of environment configurations and user account issues.

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'No talk on Tuesday' experiment

I think that when you work as a software tester, it’s important to have your mind trained to spot things and follow the logic of an application, so the capacity to focus is a key element. We are a team of software testers working in an open space office, but on different projects. One day, I realized  that we started to talk or chat if we had something in mind, without checking first if the others were busy or not. Whenever I wanted to know what the progress was with some tests, I just raised my voice and asked my colleagues how we stand. Whenever I remembered something interesting I started telling the story. They were questions, news, concerns or whatever had happened to me during the previous day:

“- Did you reply to the client’s latest email?”

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What are the common misconceptions regarding test consultancy?

I sometimes hear opinions like: “Test consultants are hired to just click on some links/buttons and they don’t have advanced technical skills”.
The main source for this misconception is the general opinion regarding testers – employees or consultants – generated by software companies that don’t really focus on quality and prefer to hire unskilled/low qualified testers with no knowledge of test planning, design and execution.
The latest experience I had was with a UK company that hired a team of test consultants for their final acceptance testing. At the end of the test round, they were puzzled by the fact that the test consultants were more efficient than the offshore test employees and found a lot of new defects on a product version that was considered stable and ready for release. Most probably, they shared the same misconception, as they were not expecting the test consultants to perform better than their own employees, but to be less efficient and to simply execute some tests. …

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What companies should not hire test consultants?

Most companies would benefit from either test management services that would improve their testing processes, test specialists that would target and test very specific parts of a product or test execution services that would bring fast and objective results. There are a few companies, however, that would be better off not hiring test consultants.
Some companies are so resistant to change and so confident in their own processes and practices that hiring test consultants would not bring any value to their software development activities and their quality. …

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Why would you want to hire a test consultant?

We think that many don’t yet understand why and when they should get a test consultant and what the benefit of getting one is.
Here are some of the main reasons we consider important:

  1. Independence

The level of independence for test consultants is very high. If they are from a different company than the one developing the application, you can get the maximum degree of independence.
What does this independence mean in terms of software quality? In any project, there will be a pressure at some point to release the product as soon as possible. The pressure comes as budget and time are limited and most of the time companies compromise to the detriment of quality. The more independent test team members are, the more they can provide an objective measurement of the software quality. This helps the companies understand …

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Using Test Consultants

We have decided to write a series of articles to explain the benefits, the disadvantages and the common misconceptions regarding the use of test consultants in the software development industry.

Before going into any details, we should first understand what a Test Consultant is.
A Test Consultant is a professional that is focusing on objectively measuring and evaluating the quality level of a software product and advising project managers regarding further actions needed before a product goes live. Test Consultants may be specialized in test management, performance, security, usability, automation or functional testing, on mobile devices software, or applications specific to a particular platform etc. They may belong to organizations that do software (test) consultancy or they can be independent consultants (working on their own).
We will structure the series into 4 different articles: …

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