Finding inspiration and new approaches to testing

Let’s reflect on why in the new year, it is worth throwing new challenges, changing your views on things, proposing new approaches to solving problems, trying something new, learning from your mistakes, and moving on.


In general, is there a need for this?

Perhaps the first thought that comes to your mind will be – My business is going well, I am satisfied with my work, I am satisfied with my process. So, why am I going to change something? Logical enough, isn’t it? But the answer is both simple and complex:

In order to keep up with the changes that are taking place in the modern information sphere, you need to move constantly. The world does not stand still and inquisitive minds are not stopping looking for approaches on how to reduce time and improve the quality of testing.

The QA position also does not stand still – it is constantly evolving, just as the processes of software development are evolving. The attitude towards the development stage at which it is necessary to write autotests is changing in order to speed up development. How you can (and often need to) change your tools and techniques, how you need to communicate with product users in order to be more flexible in collecting feedback, technical specifications, and requirements, UI visualization, and prototyping. Everything in order to improve the quality of the product.

In the IT industry, there is an opinion that a tester usually reaches a certain conditional limit in 2 years, after which it becomes necessary to deal exclusively with automation, or change the role to QA Analyst, QA Manager, or go to a developer role. Probably, if every day is a routine and you have to repeat the same actions: read and analyze requirements, study prototypes, do a test run, write and add new defects to the bug tracker, recheck defects – then it becomes easy to guess why you get tired and frustrated. You might get bored!

But there is also a way out of this situation! It is enough to change the approaches to the study of problems, to change the approaches to the creation of tests, to revise the methods of testing.

For starters, there is an opportunity to find something that allows you to test faster. Something that allows you to conduct a deeper analysis of the feature and not miss important details. Believe me, everyone will be happy if you manage to improve your work and buy some free time. And also, it will allow you to diversify your workflow! Monotony is in the past, let typical problems be solved in a non-standard way!

You can start learning about a specific topic or a specific technology. Or even, study a specific technology stack. This will allow you to become a specialist in “your” field. Other departments and teams will want to invite you to set up a process, a tool, or teach something. You can also use your knowledge and your professional passion to be an example of inspiration for colleagues on the project, to motivate them to develop and improve the quality of work.

Let’s take a look at what approach we can change or improve.


Approach to documentation

Each has its own individual approach to writing a test plan, task decomposition, application logic, requirements and defects, test cases, mind maps, tables, and diagrams.

Here you can try to answer the question about goals – what is all this for? Is testing documentation a product or a tool? How quickly does the product change? How often do new testers appear on the project?


Approach to Testing Techniques

How long have you been trying to find and apply a new technique in testing? Intuition, which is so good at the beginning, may not work in the end and over time, missed bugs will appear. For example, it may turn out that with certain parameters an object moves to a new status or changes its value, but this was not obvious during the testing phase.

The search and application of new techniques will avoid all this, they allow testing more efficiently, testing problems can be solved faster and better.


Approach to Analysis and Idea Generation Techniques

Analysis of the problem statement, study of functionality, study of the test object, because the reason for missing errors may still be an insufficiently analyzed task, incompletely collected information.

Here you can discover a new source of information. Look, for example, at a similar product on the market and see how similar functionalities are implemented there.

Look for new analytical techniques, learn modeling. Use the objects in your system and perform the analysis according to the principle of action – parameters – values.

First, select all the available objects, describe all the actions that can be performed on these objects, then the parameters that affect the actions, and then the specific values ​​of the parameters.

Exercises will help you do this faster and more productively.


Change the working environment

Try changing your favorite browser, screen resolution, or desktop composition. Chances are you will look at the product differently.

Change your favorite IDE to a new one. Try using a different API testing tool. Explore other solutions, maybe you will find something new and more convenient for you.

Review the roles and responsibilities of a tester. Explore the role and responsibilities of a tester in neighboring departments and other projects. You will find out what is happening in other companies, what is valued in testers, what is expected of them, and perhaps you will reconsider the answers to such questions:

Do you think quality assurance is a tester’s job?

Who decides whether to release or not?

Should a tester do what managers usually do?


Invest in developing communication skills

Testers talk a lot with others and write a lot. Therefore, develop these communication and writing skills.


What usually hinders us

If you do not know how to take the first step, then allocate a specific time, a specific task, and start with 15 minutes. And in these 15 minutes, study your topic, try something different. You don’t have to try everything you’ve learned at once. Pick 1–3 new practices and try them. The main thing is to do it every day.

Each of us, I think, was faced with the fear of making a decision, trying something for the first time. What if I do not have enough competencies and I make the wrong decision, let the project and my colleagues down? It must be remembered that mistakes are the norm for the learning process. On them, we understand how not to do it, which means that now we know where to go.

Over time, we acquire knowledge, and this prevents us from quickly coping with tasks, making decisions, trying something new, and taking risks. Because before we try, we start to analyze, think over everything to the smallest detail and in the end, we never try.

The solution is very simple – start with something. Just pick the first technique and give it a try. Either you will realize later that you made a mistake and this is a good result, now you have experience and new information. In this case, take the following technique, approach. Either the technique works, and then you win too.


Lack of inspiration

Then try to find it in communication with colleagues, read new books about testing and more, listen to speeches at conferences. This will give you a boost of energy and you will want to create something new and move forward.

There are many ways to change your life for the better, but the surest way is to constantly do something, and improve, no matter what! The world is a complex thing and you can’t stay in one place in it – you can and should always experiment!


Article written by Boris Jacob, Senior Quality Assurance Analyst at Risk Alive Analytics