Rapid Software Testing (RST) is for situations where you have to test a product right now, under conditions of uncertainty, in a way that stands up to scrutiny.

I don’t want to walk you through the exercises, videos, and discussions Michael Bolton used in class because…well, it’s his class, and you should take it!  But I will share some bite-sized test wisdom I wrote in my notebook during class.

Be careful, most of these are heuristic…

  • An assumption is the opposite of a test.  (I love that!)
  • Our job is not to be “done” with something.  It’s to find out interesting things that others do not already know.
  • A tester’s job is to see the complexity behind the seemingly simple and to see the simplicity behind the seemingly complex.
  • “Test” is a verb.  Not a noun.  It’s not an artifact.  It’s something one does.
  • Testers do not put the quality in, they help others put the quality in.  Testers do not assure quality, but if we must use the term “QA”, maybe it should stand for Quality Assistance.
  • Testers are like editors for writers.  No matter how well a writer tests their work, a good editor can normally find mistakes.
  • Programmers do lots of testing.  But they need help finding the last few problems.
  • A tester’s job is to remain uncertain, to maintain the idea that it might not work.
  • providing a “QA Certification” is like your manager making you say “I will take the blame…”
  • Testers don’t matter because the program is not intended for them.
  • Discussions about quality are always political or emotional. – Jerry Weinberg
  • An “Issue” is anything that threatens the value of our testing.  Issues should be reported.  They may be more important than bugs because they give bugs time to hide.
  • Threats to testability are “issues”.  Two things that threaten testability are:
    • Visibility (e.g., log files)
    • Controllability – the capacity to make the program do stuff (e.g., can I update the DB and config files?)
  • “Positive Test” – Fulfills every required assumption.  Entering a bad password is a positive test if we’ve already established how the bad password should be handled.
  • What is testing?  Getting answers.
  • A useful test approach:
    • Know your mission
    • Consider building a model of the product first
    • Begin sympathetically
    • Then chase risks
  • The first few moments of a product should be based on learning.
  • There’s always more than meets the eye.
  • Maps and models that you build don’t have to be right.  They just need to get people thinking.
  • If you don’t have enough time to test, one trick to get more time is to find important bugs.  People will generally delay releases.  (But don’t sit on bugs until the last minute, of course.  Report them as soon as you’re aware.)
  • Don’t forget to “imploy the pause”.  Take the time to learn something new every now and then.


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