Rendezvous with TesterTested

My company's "Talent Nurturing" team were discussing with me about their plans to hire an external consultant and conduct a 1 or 2 day training session for our Testing DU (Delivery Unit) and during the conversation asked me to suggest some good topics that will benefit the attendees. As someone with the experience of being coerced to attend testing training sessions by my employers in the past, i was not keen to recommend a standard training program where you have the trainer talking about concepts that will never help the tester improve his skills. Some examples are, what’s the difference between Sanity and Smoke testing, contents of test plan, what exit/entry criteria exactly mean, bug life cycle, how to have better communication with the developer, how to know if automation is good for your project and finally asking the attendees to write testcases for Yahoo mail as a exercise. Apart from the trainer (he receives a fat pay cheque for the consulting from the company) no one else really derives benefit from such sessions.

So, i suggested that it would be good if we can introduce our testers to the "Context Driven School of Testing" which specializes in approaches such as Exploratory Testing, Rapid Testing etc. The very fact that the context driven school emphasizes on areas like Lateral Thinking made me recommend it as i thought our testers stand a chance improve their skills to "test" better than what we were currently doing. With the idea being accepted, i was not able to think of anyone else apart from Pradeep Soundararajan, who is leading the context driven testing efforts in India.

I sent a mail to Pradeep explaining the need and he in turn consented. Pradeep also compromised a lot on his pricing since he was keen to share his knowledge and experience with the group to help them become better testers. As expected the session focused on puzzles for testers, lateral thinking etc and also questioned our primary understanding of various testing concepts. For example, we were not able to explain the exact meaning of testing despite the fact that we use the term at least 100 times every day. Pradeep also gave us some exercises to help us improve our testing approach and taught us about better defect reporting methods. He also emphasized on the need to use tools when it comes to testing. No, not automation tools but tools like AllPairs, Perlclip etc which can help the tester expand the coverage of testing and subsequently raise the quality bar.

Overall the session helped us to introspect the way we were doing testing and opened our eyes to newer aspects of testing.