Software Quality Insights

Sep 26 2008   12:26PM GMT

Traits of good software testers

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

I read a post this week on the Software, Technology and More blog about the four unlikely traits of good developers. And some of the traits the writer describes — creativity, curiosity, finding fault with almost everything, working hard to facilitate laziness — seem to match the traits of a good software tester.

  1. 1. Creativity – Creativity is absolutely a trait of a good software tester. Testers need to think beyond what is expected of the software and its users and think about how users will misuse the software or do things that are not spelled out in the requirements. There’s always one person who tries to see just how much they can do and how far they can push it.

  2. 2. Curiosity – The curiosity of a good tester is like that of a user who wants to see how far he can push the software. What else can happen with the software? Additionally, that curiosity will get testers asking questions that can help them do their jobs better. (Scott Barber wrote about that in his recent column.)

  3. 3. Find fault with things – And good software testers, like good copy editors in the journalism world, have the ability find fault with things and improve them. They have eagle eyes that enable them to see things that regular people do not. And to leave those things unfixed is hard for them to understand.

  4. 4. Working hard to facilitate laziness – This doesn’t apply to testers. I have yet to meet a lazy tester; most work tirelessly to complete projects. And when they have free time, they’re offering to help other testers. As for testing tools, testers use them to do their jobs better, not so they have more time to laze about.

What do you think? Are there other traits that you think good software testers possess?

4  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Reji
    This is inspiring. good piece of information. the last point is really good. but I somehow cant agree fully to 1st point. why should tester test beyond requirement? the scope should be the limit. but yes we need to find the smarter combinations in that.
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  • Reji
    [B]Boldness to report[/B] - we should be good reporters, to report without a fear and a bias. report the actual health of the system. bring out the criticallity of the bugs open
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  • Saimadhu
    Good piece of info. But some points are [B]not [/B]clear/ easy to understand. The following sentence in Creativity needs clarification: Testers need to think [B]beyond what is expected [/B]of the software and its users. What does it mean?
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  • Saimadhu
    I think [B]Pro-active[/B] is an important trait which needs to be added to the above list. The tester should be pro-active to understand the product, its scope, testing scope, on-going changes in the product i.e., 1. What the product is? 2. Why this product needed? (What are the business drivers for this product?) 3. Who are the customers? How they will deploy in their environments and use? 4. When all this product will to be used? 5. How the product is Architected? How this Architecture fits for our purpose? How different components in the product communicate? Example: if the product is built as a strong security Server then How this Architecture is providing the required security ? etc 6. [B]identify[/B] the SCOPE of the testing i.e. Are the product requirements Clear, Correct & Completely specified? what quality characteristics needs to be tested in this product? Quality characteristics can be: Correctness, Completeness, Reliability, Security, fault-tolerant, Performance (CPU, memory utilization etc), usability, Adaptable to multiple environments etc. Why so many Quality characteristics? Correctness, Completeness, Reliability [B]gives value [/B]to the product. And other characteristrics [B]Add Value [/B]to the Product. 7. Tester should be pro-active in verification of the [B]balance [/B]of these Quality characteristics. What do u mean by balance of Quality characteristics? Example: [B]Performance Vs Reliability[/B]: If we want [B]to improve the performance [/B]of the product in I/O activities then we may prefer to have Cache in between. The cache will helps in reducing the IO activities since the data will be transferred to the database once in a while. But what happens if we lose the cached data (due to power failure etc) before transferring to the database? [B]the product reliablity is lost[/B]. So one characteristic is affecting the other characteristic. So, to increase the performance and at the same time maintaining reliability requires the balance of these 2 characteristics in the product design. 7. What are the 3rd party tools used? What are their limitations? Is they affecting the balance of Quality? 8. Make sure all the stakeholders are in sync with 'What the final product will be' i.e, the required requirements, plan, design, implementation etc All this info will help to do better testing. And this collection of info requires pro-activeness.
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