My Very First Testing Lesson Rikard Edgren

As everyone else, I fell into testing by chance. I wanted to work as a developer, and saw testing as a stepping stone (this quickly changed, though.)
My first day I tested a Service Pack of a big, localized product. An experienced tester guided me at the start, and I can still remember the conversation.

Rikard: So is this machine the right one to use for this test?
Anders: Yes, you can start testing. Tell me what you are thinking, so it’s easier for me to help you.
Rikard: I double-click the installer and a welcome screen appear. I click Next.
Anders: Wait! Did you read the text?
Rikard: No.
Anders: Well, read the text and tell me what you think about it.
Rikard: OK. I think the welcome screen looks good, it tells me what it’s about to do, and the Swedish is correct.
Anders: Good. You know, some people actually reads this kind of information…
Rikard: Now I follow the script and select a custom install and click Next. I select all components as the test case tells me and click Next, and now it’s time to actually perform the installation.
Anders: Stop! Why do you just follow the script and click Next all the time?
Rikard: Because it tells me to.
Anders: But do you think all users will follow a script and know what to do all the time?
Rikard: I suppose not all of them.
Anders: So then you need to do some variations, click Back and change your mind, act like a normally confused end user.
Rikard: But why isn’t that included in the test steps?
Anders: You can’t specify everything, you can’t just do only what’s required; you are a tester, and supposed to find most of the important bugs.

I did variations, I soon found that the installer would forget the selected components after Back/Next, and that it was easy to not be aware of this.
The bug was reported and fixed, not a big deal perhaps, but a very important lesson for me:

Regardless of what they say, they probably want you to find issues that will annoy end users.

Ilari Henrik Aegerter June 11th, 2012

Hi Rikard
This is a fantastic little dialogue about the beginning of a tester’s career. And I admire Anders’ patient approach to coaching you. He just calmly points you to interesting areas to pay attention to. He also teaches you the most important lesson: Don’t just do what you are told, use your own brain. (BTW: Is Anders still in testing?)

Rikard Edgren June 11th, 2012

Hi Ilari

I cannot guarantee that Anders is his real name.
I think he is still in testing, but I haven’t seen him in a couple of years.
I don’t think he will be reading this (but if; Thanks!!)


David Greenlees June 12th, 2012

Thx for sharing. A perfect little demonstration of how scripts can induce blinkers.

Now if only all new testers had an experienced tester like ‘Anders’ to guide them. Testing would a better place. ;0)

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