Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's all about tester's mindset

Hurray, it’s Friday and I'm back home after work. It's quite a quiet week, as we met all test deliverables as per scheduled date & time.
While I drove back home, a car adjacent to me crossed his lane violating traffic rules and was about to hit me and I slowed down for a while to allow him to overtake, else there would be a great smash-up between us followed by huge traffic Jam. If you know about Chennai traffic you can easily imagine the latter situation very well.

Right away, I questioned my project manager, who accompanied me in the car, that why the hell is he violating the traffic rules. To which he replied calmly It's simple that we Indians take advantage of our circumstances and won't be self-disciplined ( his comment made me to ponder for a while that "Hey Shiva Mathivanan, how self- disciplined are you?, self-critic". Now I realize what is left to improve within myself). My project manager then made an additional comment, that we Indians never trash waste's in dustbin could be biodegradable or non-biodegradable wastes we don't mind in clearing trashes like chocolate wrappers, coke cans, pet bottles, polythene bags, etc in dustbin even if the dustbin's are at reachable proximity. We never even think to spit on roads, and violate traffic rules. Have you also noticed that the same Indian who moves overseas to Singapore and other European countries never even tries to indulge in undisciplined behaviour, that he had done for so many years in India? I sensed his strong emotional feeling that is oriented towards his real grievance. To my surprise, why do we try to adopt with conditions in overseas and sincerely tries to take advantage of our Indian circumstances rather than being self-disciplined all the time? Why do we behave so?

This instance disturbed my consciousness and made to relate our Indian mindset with Indian tester's mindset, of questioning myself "How we are?-Why we are?-The way we are?"

Note: This is about smart Indian testers who are resistive to change, for good. So please don't generalize this about all smart Indian testers.

How we are - Why we are - The way we are?
• We don't want to be blamed from project manager or QA Manager treeing "how did you miss this defect when you tested last month?” while we have all possible reasons to JUSTIFY it. Why do we behave so?

• We don't we want to be damned among everyone in team meetings for our own flaws; however we are very much comfortable if the same curse is fed in privacy. Why do we behave so?

• We always want us to be in comfort zone of 'level B'. I respect the transformation we have earned from 'Level A' to 'Level B', but why aren't we open to learn and advance to other degrees? Do we still want to be in comfort zone of 'Level B' with full knowledge and deliberation than attempting to direct ourselves to other levels? Why do we behave so?

• We don't want to be questioned by anyone in office space. But why aren't we open to questions and have patience to provide worthy answers?

• We will test functionalities/GUI to validate what is detailed in functional specification to confirm testability and we won't question the software product to raise more valid issues, which is not elaborated in user specification? Example -what if the user-friendly error message is accurate but unhelpful?. Why are we not prepared to question the system out-of-heuristics?. Michael Bolton say's a direct violation of a reliable specification is probably a bug and we tester need to change the question "does this test pass or fail? to a question that better addresses a possible threat to someone's values:"Is there a problem here?". Why do we fail to test and raise question to the team, instead we argue that it is not provided in the functional specification, so it was left untested. Although we are very sure that most of the specification won't be reliable for everyone in the team?

• If we aren't open for Idea's, where will we find the room for our own improvements? Why do we behave so?

• There are various models which have been presented in the past 20 years in the field of software engineering for development and testing. Most of the tester's who worked in those famous testing models like Waterfall Model, V Model, W Model, Spiral Model and Butterfly Model are coined as traditional tester's and these models are said to be outdated as it cannot be followed in the current trend of the way we work in Software testing. It is true because testing craft has made us to learn in recent times of "what is the best fit of tests required for the project we get to test" hence most of the companies rely on building agile manifesto - a change for good. How many testers are prepared to change their pattern of testing for good? We always resist to changing. Why do we behave so?

• Why are we not confident enough to test a software application or a product without a functional specification? Michael Bolton say's you don't always need to wait for complete specifications to start your testing effort here. Why are we not up for that yet?

• When have we conceded, recently that 'Yes, It's my mistake. I will correct next time'. Why are we failing to accept our own mistakes? If we cannot consent ourselves, how will we understand the impact of the mistakes that might have affected the team's deliverable and if we can't understand the severity of it how will we amend, next time?

Our way of reacting to a situation is adopted by how we are. Why we are reacting to the way we are? is because we are directly related to instance of our current learning respective to our current level of expertise. The problem here is that we aren't upgrading our learning skills. Get to know why smart people struggle behind reacting to change by Rajesh Setty.

Harry Robinson, Test Architect for Microsoft's Enterprise Management Division predicts the future of testing here.I now foresee that the change he expects has began to infect, BUT the change isn't COMPLETELY infected for good.

Thanks for spending valuable time,
Shiva Mathivanan.

"We learn little from victory, much from defeat. Don't think in terms of Win or Lose. You cannot always win, but you can always learn".-Jerry Weinberg.


  1. Good article.. great thoughts.. keep posting!

  2. Nice post,covered lot of things in one post,keep learning...
    Keep questioning the conventional wisdom
    -Dhanasekar S

  3. <<..dEEPS said...Good article.. great thoughts.. keep posting!..>>

    @Pradeep - Thanks for rendering comment. Please do share this post with your testing chaps, strictly not to expect the instant change but would make me happy at least if they try to think on these context.

    -Shiva Mathivanan

  4. <<..@testingideas said...Nice post, covered lot of things in one post, keep learning...Keep questioning the conventional wisdom
    -Dhanasekar S ..>>

    @Dhanasekar- Thanks for examining my post and I appreciate your interest to comment on this post. I had this practice of reading without saying(sharing my view comment) even a 'word' about it, though I will be having lots of ‘sentences’ in mind, I was failing to comment.

    I changed this trait of mine, and then started to see lots of testing professionals began to network/negotiate/talk about testing with me, via blog forums. I started liking the change within myself ;)

  5. Better way is to write down whatever comes to you mind.Review them later,not immediately,bcoz if you review immediately your mind will have same thoughts.Do that for few times,then get reviewed from few friends.That will help to improve your writing. All the best
    --Dhanasekar S

  6. And there is a bug in "My Twitter Updates" Gadget,can you crack down and analyze? :-)
    --Dhanasekar S

  7. Thanks for the Idea Dhanasekar, I'm sure it is worth to plunge and quit and then revert to the same thing over again before publishing as how we try to reproduce the intermittent bugs.

    Btw is there a bug in the 'Twitter' Gadget? You mean at the core widget itself or you found bugs in my blog page, rather.

    I know that this widget doesn’t actually display the number of tweets, we wanted to display by providing our desired number in “Number of updates to display”, although it displays for the first time it will fail to display latter. Are you talking about this?

  8. Just click on any twitter ids present in the gadget,click on links present in the gadget.I think the issue is with the theme you are use.
    -Dhanasekar S

  9. @testingideas: I have now replaced BlogSpot’s default gadget with twitter badges via to fix this issue. Thanks for spotting it. :)