Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Ideal Testing Mindset

I was working with a company a while back when one of the execs asked about softening test results so they didn't sound so bad. It made me realize that this exec, who was fantastic at marketing and selling, didn't fully understand the point of testing.

We get used to presenting things in the best light possible without lying, but with testing that mindset is counter-productive. Not that you want to blow anything out of proportion, but it’s important to be objective about testing.

First, how bad is this defect? This is where defined severity criteria work well – is data lost or corrupt? is the user unable to perform a critical function? is there a workaround? – all important questions when objectively evaluating defect severity.

Second, if there are areas that may not work as designed, wouldn’t you want to find out before your product gets into a customer’s hands? Yes it may take some work to fix it, but it’s going to need to be fixed either way. It’s better for your reputation and bottom line to fix it sooner rather than later.

Finally, it’s okay to have bugs early on in the software development process. That’s why we test. It is not a reflection on your product, it’s just part of the process. Just like all of us humans are flawed, so is our software. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) it’s much easier to fix our software bugs!