Can you test something too much? Sure.

If you spend all your time testing FeatureA and four other Features go untested, you’ve probably tested FeatureA too much.

Part of what makes some testers better than others is their ability to know how much testing effort to put into each Feature and when. This is a tricky decision and may require the tester to stop testing FeatureA, even though FeatureA is still yielding bugs. What?!! Think about it. If you know FeatureA is yielding bugs but you don’t know anything about FeatureB, where should you spend your time next? I say, FeatureB. It just feels wrong, doesn’t it?

A lot of testers have a hard time with this. They get wrapped up in completing exhaustive testing on one Feature while the unknowns sit and collect dust. They follow their nose for the reward of bug discovery in comfortable areas. They underestimate how much time it will take to test the unknowns and before they know it, opps, not enough time to test everything!

Have you ever seen one of those plate spinning circus acts? You know the ones, the guy is frantically running around trying to keep all the plates spinning on sticks so they don’t fall. As a tester, you should be like a plate spinner. The Features are the plates. I don’t know what the sticks are, don’t worry about it. But if your programmers are working on Features (e.g., fixing bugs, finding bugs, refactoring, testing), your plates are spinning.

Keep your plates spinning!


  1. Mihai said...

    Nice image! The Testers are real artists, aren't they? ("Circus acts" I believe you wrote).
    Well, it may be hard to find so many plates spinners to fill up the needs for testers within an average size organization.
    Without joking: viewing the tester activities in this way it may be detrimental to testers and management. To get a product with "a steady quality level" the "artistic" work needs to be kept to minimum. Most of the testers are not artists, but engineers. They do behave as engineers and they perform better when they have some rules, process, etc. It is good to have one (or few) artists within a team, but a good process is more reliable than a team of artists.
    At the QA management level it is more important to have the spinner. They need to ensure the plates are all up. If the Agile methodology is employed, then the team is responsible to organize the work in the way that all the right plates are spinning. It is the process! The process should be customized and flexible to ensure all the right plates are taken care of.

  2. richa said...

    I like ur blog a lot, i follow it regularly. Topics covered by u are very easy to understand and fun to read.

  3. Sigge said...

    Hi, I posted a comment on your post here:

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