A rookie tester’s guide to making the arrest

Bug Investigations

Thousands of words have been written about the investigation part, and it’s usually where the information ends.  You’ve got a crack bug investigation procedure.  You’ve clearly identified your oracles, you’ve mapped your coverage, you know your quality criteria.  You’ve been patrolling the mean streets of your pre-release build, and you’ve noticed something out of the ordinary.  The adrenaline starts pumping, and you’re ready to reach for the red and blues.  We wanna take this perp down.  But hold up, bronco.  Before we grab the pepper spray, let’s talk about what happens after you have a suspect in your sights.  You’re pretty sure you want to make the arrest, but we don’t want to compromise the sentencing later.

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Beyond scripts – transcripts

“Can you show me your test scripts?”
“Will your test scripts be part of the deliverable?”
“This role involves writing and executing test scripts”.

There is a sector of the software development community that believes, no, accepts unquestionably as a truth, that testing is writing test scripts then executing them. This leads to a vicious cycle of managers and clients asking for test scripts, and testers delivering test scripts because they were asked for them, thus reinforcing the requests and so on ad infinitum.
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ISTQB: Possum Certification

Repost from http://testerkiwi.blogspot.com/

In my last post, I talked about the concept of possum testing: Doing testing-related activities that the tester does not value, motivated on some level by fear.  I’d like to extend this concept out, and talk about the fundamental problem I have with ISTQB certification: It’s a possum certification.

If possum testing is testing that the tester does not value, motivated on some level by fear, then possum certification is the acquisition of certification that the receiver does not value, and the attainment of that certification is motivated at some level by fear.

ISTQB rely on deceiving their customers that what they will be getting is a valid qualification.  They have successfully created a vicious cycle where employers believe that ISTQB certification is somehow some kind of valid measure of a tester’s skill so they ask for it in their job ads.  Prospective employees see it in the job ads, and therefore think it must be a valid qualification, after all, look at all these companies asking for it, so they go out and get it.  Employers see employees with it on their CV, and thus confirm in their minds that ISTQB certification is a valid certification, after all, look at all these applicants with it on their CVs.  And on the cycle goes.  Meanwhile, ISTQB do nothing to correct the situation.  But why would they?

I can only conclude that the ISTQB is deliberately exploiting the fearful, at the point in their careers when they are the most vulnerable.  Instead of helping possums cross the road safely, they are creating a deception in the industry.  The name itself “International Software Testing Qualifications Board” has been deliberately constructed to dazzle employers into thinking it is somehow an official industry board.  They are taking our craft, and diluting it into a three day dictionary definition course, and passing it off as a legitimate qualification.  They are stifling innovation and critical thinking by indoctrinating new recruits into the field with “best practices” and definitions that don’t even hold up to a moment’s critical analysis.

They are making money off the fear of new testers, who fear that they aren’t employable without certification, and the ignorance of employers who don’t understand the field.  They perpetuate the ignorance by giving themselves an official sounding name that implies universal acceptance and authority.

To me, it is wrong for ISTQB to be intentionally misleading employers, and exploiting the fear of newbie possums.  If you feel the same way then speak out, and stop letting this ruining our profession.  Stop the spread of folklore and myth that the ISTQB syllabus teaches, and perhaps we can take back our profession from those who seek to only profit from it, rather than study it.

Author: Aaron Hodder