Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bug Advocacy

This month I've been taking the Bug Advocacy course at the Association for Software Testing. It's been ten years since I took the introductory Foundations course, the first in the Black Box Software Testing series, and with this degree of hindsight I can see how fundamental that was in how I like to test.

I've done plenty of learning in the decade since I started testing, so much of the material in Bug Advocacy is not new to me. That doesn't detract from the value of the course. I've taken the opportunity to refresh my memory, and to look at how the other students interpret the same material and how they go about the practical exercises, and compare that to my own approach.

I love that these courses are run with small cohorts, emphasise practice to reinforce theory but also to ask questions of it, and require that students review each other's work as an aid to learning.

Each week there are exercises that have the students interact with each other and software. We then write reports and reviews which themselves are reviewed and reported on. If that sounds convoluted, or even meta, don't be fooled: on a bug reporting course in particular, the concentration on data gathering, organisation, and dissemination is incredibly rewarding.

Tester credibility and influence is a key element in the course, emphasised repeatedly. If we, and the information we provide, and the actions we take, have the respect of those we work with then we are more likely to be able to help decision-makers make the right kinds of decisions, including which bugs to schedule for fix, and when.

  The course materials can be found at testingeducation.org.

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