I love reading software tester blogs but sometimes I can't relate. Many of the topics are too academic to have any practical value for my daily testing struggles. Test blogs and forums often discuss test approaches (e.g., manual vs. automated, scripted vs. exploratory). These are interesting topics but many are outside my scope of control. I can influence my managers to some extent, but I also have to operate within the processes and tools they dictate.
I work for a QA group in a large company that is very metric hungry when it comes to testing. Most of my managers love manual detailed test cases, requirements coverage, and other practices that create administrative work for us testers, thereby reducing our available time for actual testing. In practice, I think most of my peers test the way I do, attacking a feature with an exploratory type approach, then updating execution results of a handful of test cases that give a vague and superficial representation of what was tested.
Recently, some of my managers have also decided we should attempt to automate most of our tests, which from their perspective, seems realistic and should free up our time because we can just fire off automated tests instead of wasting time with manual execution. One manager tells of how in the good old days when he was a tester, he would launch his automation suite and take the rest of the day off. This romanticized version of test automation is far from anything I can fathom...and I think he may be exaggerating.
So I'm left in the awkward position of trying to be a valuable tester from my manager's perspective but also from the perspective of the software team I support. My daily struggles are typically not very romantic and my ideas are not groundbreaking. However, I do feel myself improving with each question I answer. And I don't think I'm the only tester to waste energy on questions like these...
- Did someone log this already?
- How much more time should I spend investigating this bug?
- Should I reopen the bug or log a new one?
- Is it a bug?
- Should I be embarrassed using a stop watch to performance test the Login screen?
- Was that test worth automating?
- Is it ready to test?
- Should I log it without repro tests?
- Am I bored?
- Am I valuable?
- Did I test this already?
- Is my goal to find as many bugs as possible?
- Who do I really serve?
- Do my bugs suck?
- Is my job lame?
- Can I log a bug because I hate the way the UI looks?
- Am I irritated with my AUT?
- When is my job done?
- Did my devs smoke crack while they wrote this?
- Does anyone really get performance testing?
- Does my pride hurt when my bugs get rejected?
- What the hell is this feature supposed to do?
- Should I be spending time logging bugs on the hourglass pointers that don't trigger?
- Do I posses any special abilities or am I just an A-hole with the patience to submit another fake order for the 300th time?