Blog Posts from October, 2013

Very Short Blog Posts (6): Validating Assumptions

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Some may say that the purpose of testing is to validate assumptions made by business analysts, designers, or developers. To me, that is at best a potential side effect of testing—but not the goal. If you want testing to reveal important problems in the product, do not focus on validating assumptions (to do so would be more like checking; testing may include some checking). To foster discovery, excellent testing—like excellent science—seeks to invalidate assumptions.

To put it another way, it’s easy to check to show that something can work. As testers, we must probe, challenge and test the assumptions that might cause people to believe mistakenly that it will work. Those assumptions are where the risks live.

Very Short Blog Posts (5): Understanding the Requirements

Monday, October 28th, 2013

People often suggest that “understanding the requirements” is an essential step before you can begin testing. This may be true for checking or formal testing—examining a product in a specific way, or to check specific facts. But understanding the requirements is not a necessary precursor to testing, which is learning about a product through experimentation (a larger activity which might include checking) and creating the conditions to make that activity possible. Indeed, you may need to test in order to develop an understanding of the requirements, which in turn triggers more and better testing, yielding even better understanding of the requirements—and so on.

More generally, when thinking about testing, think more about loops, and less about lines.