Questions that testing constantly help answering Rikard Edgren

I have been thinking about qualitative research lately, and wondered what the question(s) would look like if testing was seen as a research project.

The testing effort has many positive effects, but one common and important is to provide information about the product, so a good release decision can be made. We cannot prove that the software is good, but we can try our very best to show important ways it can fail.
But at the same time, it is too late to come with important information just before the release is to be made; the information should be provided in a timely manner.
So in a paradoxal way, we try to destroy the product we love, but at the same time give the information to the project, so they can make the testing mission fail.

Testing try to answer “No” to the “Can we ship?” question – many times in many ways – but gives the project the best chances to resolve all issues as early as possible.

Another important question is “How can the product be better?”, and information about this is also being provided all the time. Not too late, but also not too early, in times when we know too little, and the cost is too high to reach the vital information.

Of course, there are many other sources and considerations, but testing often has the best view of the system as a whole, and the best view of some details from a customer perspective.
Testing can’t be complete, but the answers are valid when the testing can be considered saturated, when too much effort is needed to get new information that aren’t too important.

Are there other questions that are more important?
Or are we providing answers without questions?

One Comment
Martin Jansson January 15th, 2010

I like this as a method for joint test planning in the team. I must try it out. Continuous questioning is interesting.