8 Practical Techniques to Keep Mind in Tune for Testing
During a recent software testing interview, I asked the candidate about what does he do to keep the mind in tune so that he can continuously think about new testing ideas. He was confused and answered “I do testing”. I smiled.
While working on the same project/application/product/domain for long years, we become expert of particular domain or product but if not taken care, we lose the most important thing – The eye to test.
Yes, you read it right. When you are working on same product everyday for 2 years and when you are bored and not seeing any more bug, my friend, time to rejuvenate, time to brush up the mind and time to be a learner again.
Software testing is not a job, it’s a responsibility. Either you are doing manual testing or you are writing complex automation scripts, you are the authorized person for the quality of that particular web page / module / overall product.
And to keep up with the responsibility in the highly competitive IT environment, it’s necessary that –
- You find something bad before someone else finds out
- You see something critical before someone else thinks about it
- You report something extraordinarily before someone else has chance to do it
- You co-relate past experiences, learning, same work experience with current task and generate a fabulous output
Most of the time, as a tester, we are busy while executing documented test cases, generating automation scripts or reporting bugs. And while doing this, we are losing that skill about looking at everything with a different sight.
Software testing is challenging because you have to keep up yourself updated with latest knowledge as well as you have to continuously provide more qualitative inputs to make product better (in short, find more bugs). How can we keep up with this kind of stress? It’s not a one time learning. It’s a process and believe me, by following some simple practices daily, you can do it easily.
8 Practical Tips to Keep Mind in Tune for Testing
#1. Think testing about everything around you
When you are traveling or when you are cooking or when you are playing with a kid or when you are taking a walk in the garden or when you are reading a book – observe everything around you and order your mind to prepare test ideas to test the specific things. Think at least 5 test ideas for everything around you, every time you get a chance to think about.
Think how can you test a train, how can you test a spoon, how can you test a book, how can you test a jar, how can you test a cable, how can you test a remote…..endless list it is. After following this practice for 15 days, see the difference in yourself. You will be full of ideas. You will be able to understand things properly and will be able to co-relate the things.
#2. Learn a new thing everyday
No matter whether it’s a small testing technique or an automation tool, you must have at least one item to list as “Learned” every day. Small amount of knowledge when accumulated creates an ocean of the same. This practice, if followed, will surely show wonders in your career. Try it!!!
#3. Keep diversified interests
Now a days, it’s expected that the quality person should be aware about development lifecycle, documentation, testing processes, programming, analysis, automation, knowledge across different domains.
It’s not easy to learn something else, while you are already busy testing something specific. But at the same time, you cannot take a risk of pulling your career chords downwards. Open your eyes and see what is happening around you. You cannot learn everything but you definitely can have some idea about some of the important things/domains other than the specific one, you have been working on.
- If you have been working on windows operating system, see how Linux works, read about it, explore it.
- If you have been a manual tester for all the years of career till now, see what kind of automation tools are available and explore it.
- If you have been doing web application testing so far, look into how mobile application testing is different.
- If you have been working in banking domain, understand how healthcare domain works.
Keeping diversified interests will give you an opportunity to look at bigger picture and understand the commons as well as differences easily.
#4. Play games
There are numerous strategy games, pattern finding games, missing letter games available for free. Use the opportunity and learn from them. Games make your mind sharp and alert. And the sharp mind is able to find something hidden easily.
Read whatever you can. It’s not necessary to read only software testing books to become a good tester. If you are able to co-relate things correctly, books on any subject will be a treasure for you.
#6. Take breaks
Human has a tendency of getting used to. If you look at a broken piece of furniture for longer time, your mind, at one point will start thinking about how perfect that piece was rather than the broken part. Don’t stick your eyes, constantly on the same thing. Take breaks, observe surrounding, discuss knowledge and resume work. Difference? A lot.
#7. Keep a note
Everyday, in a notepad, jot down minimum five points about what you learn or what you did to make things happen or what did you find or what ideas did you implement. It would be a treasure on re-visit.
#8. Learn management
You can achieve success only if you can manage things better. Learn and observe from your managers – how they manage resources, clients, projects, timeline and other hurdles.
To manage something you need not to be a manager. Start from your work and time. Try to help others and take help when required. The management skill will grow with constant practice but will surely take out the best from you.
I am stopping here as I think I have covered the points to practice out daily. I am not interested in mentioning points about sharing/upgrading knowledge or discussing different topics because I think everyone of us is doing it as part of our work.
Finally, try to be an exploratory tester and you will be able to fit in all the other categories.
About the Author: Bhumika Mehta is a project lead, carrying 7 years of software testing experience. She is totally in to testing and loves to test everything exists. She appreciates good ideas and innovations and risk too. And of course hates monotonic work, people and environment.
Happy Testing and as usual, suggestions and views are welcome.