Software testing is a big responsibility in itself. Being an expert software tester does not mean just theoretical knowledge but also requires special skills that a tester needs to develop within themselves. There are many blogs that discusses about the techniques and types of software testing. But very few know that an expert tester should have the below qualities in addition to the technical information.
To be a great software tester, you need to develop following 16 characteristics within you:
1. Be Sceptical :
Do not believe that the testing scenario given by developers is bug free or has quality outcome. Question everything. Accept the build only if you test and find it defect free. Don’t believe anyone irrespective to whatever designation they hold in the company, just apply your knowledge and try to find errors. You need to follow this till the last testing cycle.
2. Do not Compromise on Quality :
Do not compromise after testing certain stages. There is no limit for testing until you produce a quality product. Quality is the word made by software testers to achieve more effective testing. Compromising at any level leads to defective product, so do not do that in any situation.
3. End User Satisfaction :
Always think what can make end user happy. How they can use the product with ease. Do not stop by testing the standard requirements. End user can be happy only when you provide an error free product.
4. Think from Users Perspective :
Every product is developed for customers. Customers may or may not be technical. If you do not consider the scenarios from their perspective you will miss many important bugs. So put yourself in their shoes. Know your end users first. Their age, education even the location can matter most while using the product. Make sure to prepare your test scenarios and test data accordingly. After all project is said to be successful only if end user is able to use the application successfully.
5. Prioritize Tests :
First identify important tests and then prioritize execution based on test importance. Never ever execute test cases sequentially without deciding priority. This will ensure all your important test cases get executed early and you won’t cut down on these at the last stage of release cycle due to time pressure. Also consider the defect history while estimating test efforts. In most cases defect count at the beginning is more and goes on reducing at the end of the test cycle.
6. Do Not Promise 100% Coverage :
Saying 100% coverage on paper is easy but practically it is impossible. So never promise to anyone including clients about total test coverage. In business there is a philosophy – “Under promise and over deliver.” So do not go for 100% coverage but focus on quality of your tests.
7. Be Open to Suggestions :
Listen to everyone even though you have the highest authority and in depth knowledge of the product. There is always scope for improvements and getting suggestions from fellow software testers is a good idea. Everyone’s feedback in order to improve the quality of the project would certainly help to release a bug free software.
8. Start Early :
Do not wait until you get your first build for testing. Start analyzing requirements, preparing test cases, test plan and test strategy documents in early design phase. Starting early helps to visualize complete project scope and hence planning can be done accordingly. Most of the defects can be detected in early design and analysis phase saving huge time and money. Early requirement analysis will also help you to question the design decisions.
9. Identify & Manage Risks :
Risks are associated with every project. Risk management is a three step process. Risk identification, analysis and mitigation. Incorporate risk driven testing process. Prioritize software testing based on risk evaluation.
10. Market Research :
Do not think that your responsibility is just to validate software against the set of requirements. Be proactive, do your product market research and provide suggestions to improve it. This research will also help you understand your product and its market.
11. Develop Good Analyzing Skill :
This is must for requirement analysis but even further this could be helpful for understanding customer feedback while defining test strategy. Question everything around you. This will trigger the analysis process and it will help you resolve many complex problems.
12. Focus on Negative Side as Well :
Concentrating on only positive side will almost certainly create many security issues in your application. You should think like a hacker while testing your project in order to keep other hackers away from it. Negative testing is equally important. So cover a good chunk of your test cases based on negative scenarios.
13. Be a Good Judge of Your Product :
A Judge does not get any conclusions straight away. Judge listens to both the sides. Same is applicable for testing. As a software tester if you think something as right, try to prove it why it is not wrong and then only accept it. You must have valid reason for all your decisions.
14. Learn to Negotiate :
Testers have to negotiate with everyone in all stages of project life cycle. Especially negotiation with developers is more important. Developers can do anything to prove that their code is correct and the defect logged by testers is not valid. It requires great skills to convince developers about the defect and get it resolved. Though some software testers think this is not our task but explaining the true impact of any issue is very helpful for developers to quickly understand the overall scenario and its implications. This requires years of practice but once you learn to negotiate you will gain more respect.
15. Stop the Blame Game :
It’s common to blame others for any defects which are not caught in testing. This is even more common when the tester’s responsibilities are not defined concretely. But in any situation never blame anyone. If an error occurs, first try to resolve it rather than finding someone to blame. As a human everybody makes mistake, so try to avoid blaming others. Work as a team to build team spirit.
16. Finally, Be a Good Observer :
Observe things happening around you. Keep track of all major and minor things on your project. Observe the way of developing the code, types of testing and its objective. Observe and understand test progress and make necessary changes if it is off the track in terms of schedule or testing activities. This skill will essentially help you to keep yourself updated and ready with course of action for any situation.
Try to implement above 16 steps in your day-to-day testing activities. Practicing these steps will make help you to excel in testing field. Remember testing is not only a challenging job but it is a creative job too.
Love your job and you will become a leader in your field!
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