Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Necessary Tester skills ....

Curiosity? Keen and close observation? Skepticism? Creativity? Arguing/debating? Imaginative? Analytical and Holistic? Good at Probing/Investigation?

None – would say many IT testers, I meet on regular basis

Today’s IT testers have forgotten these terms I suppose. When looked at macroscopic and group level – todays Test managers, delivery heads appear to have lost sight on these core skills for testers. When I ask any typical IT testers what they are doing to enhance the skills, typical answers I get are - learning domain, usage of specific tool, or a programming language, or some process/methodologies stuff. That is not wrong but having any of these skills without the basic skills required for testers – we would be developing the armies of robots who are very good at following orders and over a period of time, stop thinking on their own.

NY Police (a profession similar to testers) are taking course in “observing and describing” – What our testers should be doing to sharpen their testing skills? How they are putting their cognitive skills in their day today work?



A process is what you actually do. A process document describes what someone would like you to do, ideally. They rarely coincide exactly, and sometimes don't overlap at all - Jerry Weinberg


Corey Goldberg said...

you seem to have a very low view of testers. In my daily work, the testers I run into have most of the skills you described as lacking.

we must live in very different worlds.

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Hi Corey.

Let me make it VERY clear. I do not have low view of testers. Being personally a passionate tester, I hold the profession of testing very close to my heart.

The low view that appear to be projecting here is out of my experience with testers/leads and test mangers that work in IT and IT services companies.

I have many examples in this regard. As someone who is working in IT/IT services domain for last 8-10 years, I have seen it all.

In the past too, we had this contradiction - you seem to be working with some of the brightest testers - those who are skilled.

Do you have any experience of working with IT/IT services groups - especially in outsourced context?

Personally, I hope to see the leadership of IT/IT services companies talk about skill rather than (or only) tools, programming skills, process, productivity etc.
This is something that is not happening - surely in indian subcontinent context.

That is why 100's, 1000's of new recruits in IT are fed with wrong propaganda of what is testing and how one becomes a good tester.


Shrini Kulkarni said...

Corey --

I am sure we are working in very different worlds ....


Kashif Ali Habib said...

Nice post,

i dont know in which world i am living :),but observation, investigations, etc should be core skills of software testers,software testers should be dynamic, always thinking and should be able putting application into different examination criteria.

Shrini Kulkarni said...

this post's purpose is to reiterate the importance of core skills - something the gets the backseat in IT/IT services space.

If you are not in that "world" - be happy and keep building your skills.

Those in that world - check what you are missing and how you can make it up.


Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi said...


You are right and thanks reiterating the same. However, there is less focus on these skills instead of ignorance on these primary skills.

you might might the answers to the root cause for this pattern if you closely observe the job market and the skills listed in the job market.

My two cents.


Senthilnathan said...

I am slowly forgotten these skill. Thanks Srini, to remainder me to sharpen these skill again.

Unknown said...

This is a candid post and this is something that I have seen from very close quarters. When I set out to do the right thing, I found myself in the minority.

What confuses me is the big talk from everyone about how committed they are about quality. Sometimes I feel I am missing something. :)

Fake Software Tester said...

@Corey and Shrini ---> What Srini says is very true. Due to high resourcing requirements of the software industry in India, a lot of such skills are missing in testers. The training departments cover areas such as Domain, Technology, etc... but do not attempt to teach these areas, neither do the interviews try to judge the capability of the candidate in these areas.

But again, the world of software testing is entirely different in India and outside India. So, in the truest sense of the word, I believe that we and Corey are living in different galaxies... and will continue to do so until the situation improves in these areas of the world!!!

An admirer who is surprised with the quality of this post! said...

So Shrini,

When was the last time you went to an art museum to learn "necessary tester skills"

Additional questions -

1. Was Amy Herman's field excerise a success or a failure?
2. To invest in an field experience like this, I am sure a testing manager would have to seek the necessary approvals and budgets from the stakeholders? What are some of the keywords you would recommend while a testing manager seeks approvals?
3. Do you have any data which you would be able to share? aka buisness value?
4. I was wondering if you practice what you preach?

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Dear Admirer,

Thanks for your feedback. I will respond in a separate post for your queries.

In the mean time would you bother to identify yourself so that we can have broader, meaningful and personalized discussion?

Write to me at shrinik@gmail.com.

If you wish I shall keep our conversation private...