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The Art and Beauty of Testing

Two really good articles on testing recently showed up on my radar. The essence of both articles is that testing helps ensure you won’t ship garbage and that testers are those entrusted with ensuring truth, transparency and accountability about the state of a project. Both resonated well, because of a recent project at work where testing, and more testing, really helped provide a foundation for the project to succeed.

Definition of Testing

Verification that a product does what it is intended to do and does so elegantly, efficiently, and correctly

– Steven Sinofsky on Beauty of Testing.

Approach and Mindset of Testing

A tester approaches a product as a user would, and does the things that occur to users. All the time taking notes. After that, the tester goes through the docs, and tests them too. Do they accurately describe the product? In what ways did I get lost? A tester gives you all the information she has that could help you find the problem and fix it. And when you ask for more, the questions are answered clearly and directly.

– Dave Winer on The lost art of software testing

Responsibility of Testers

Change is the enemy of quality. Testers know that when you have a bug and you change the code you are introducing risk into a complex system. Their job is to understand the potential impact a change might have on the overall product and weigh that against the known/reported problem. Good testers do not just report on problems that need to be fixed, but also push back on changing too much at the wrong time because of potential impact. Historically, for every 10 changes made to a stable product, at least one will backfire and cause things to break somehow.

– Steven Sinofsky on Beauty of Testing.