F11-603: The Discipline Aspect of Software Testing

Track: Test Strategy and Design

The project manager asks: When will you be done? The development manager shifts in her chair and the developers sitting around the project team table now have their eyes fixed on you. There is silence while the team waits for your response.

You ask or better yet, state how much time you need to finish a round of regression testing. But you know that no matter how much time you ask for there is always another test condition, always another set of data that could be tested. You sigh. How can you tell when you will be done testing when testing is a discovery activity not just a confirmation activity and you have no idea what issues you may find lurking in the software.

Back at your desk, you look up to your computer screen and there is that same old website you’ve been testing for days, perhaps weeks and if you’ve been on the team for a while, perhaps you have looked at this software for years.

And now your mission is to regression test this website yet again, preferably with fresh eyes and a thorough review. After all, you’re the one holding up this software from being used by paying customers.

The pressure mounts and yet procrastination takes hold, as well as, you glance at your desk phone and see messages and your inbox of email has grown while you were in the team meeting.

It’s time, time to roll up your sleeves and finish the work at hand and yet, you just don’t feel like it. The old regression testing blues have taken hold and you can’t talk about that sensation to a single coworker as your teammates are waiting on you.

How do you discipline yourself to get the job done?
Discipline. Focus. How do you pull on the reservoirs of these necessary skills? These are not the cool sexy skills like knowing how to build an Android app, or how to get an application accepted into the Apple store but the unglamorous skills of buckling down and getting the job done.

How do we invoke discipline to get the job done? To begin you have to admit you have a challenge to overcome and in this presentation, the reality of needing to be disciplined and focused to get work done, most especially getting work done under pressure, will be discussed.

Tactics will be shared for getting through stacks of work when you don’t feel inspired. We will look at how to build rigor and discipline into your practice in software testing.

Software testing takes a certain amount of discipline and rigor; it takes the ability to focus and think while frequently under stressful conditions. How can we improve our ability to focus? How do we deal with distractions?

This presentation will provide an honest look at (as well as practical tips) how to build rigor and discipline into your practice in software testing.

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Session Speaker:

Karen N. JohnsonKaren N. Johnson – Founder, Software Test Management, Inc.
Karen N. Johnson is an independent software test consultant. She is a frequent speaker at conferences. Karen is a contributing author to the book, Beautiful Testing released by O’Reilly publishers. She is the co-founder of the WREST workshop, more information on WREST can be found at: http://www.wrestworkshop.com/Home.html. She has published numerous articles and blogs about her experiences with software testing. You can visit her website at:http://www.karennjohnson.com