A tester asked me an interesting question this morning:
“How can I find old test documentation for a completed feature so I can re-use those tests on a similar new feature?”
The answer is easy. But that’s not what this post is about.
It seems to me, a skilled tester can usually come up with better tests…today, from scratch. Test documentation gets stale fast. These are some reasons I can think of:
- A skilled tester knows more about testing today than they did last month.
- A skilled tester knows more about the product-under-test today than they did last month.
- The product-under-test is different today than it was last month. It might have new code, refactored code, more users, more data, a different reputation, a different platform, a different time of the year, etc.
- The available time to perform tests might be different.
- The test environment might be different.
- The product coder might be different.
- The stakeholders might be different.
- The automated regression check suite may be different.
If we agree with the above, we’ll probably get better testing when we tailor it to today’s context. It’s also way more fun to design new tests and probably quicker (unless we are talking about automation, which I am not).
So I think digging up old test documentation as the basis for determing which tests to run today, might be a wrong reason to dig up old test documentation. A good reason is to answer questions about the testing that was performed last month.