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Enjoy Testing

 

The testers at work had a lean coffee session this week. One of the questions was  "I like testing best because ..."

I said that I find the combination of technical, intellectual, and social challenges endlessly enjoyable, fascinating, and stimulating.

That's easy to say, and it sounds good too, but today I wondered whether my work actually reflects it.

So I made a list of some of the things I did in the last working week:

  • investigating a production problem and pairing to file an incident report
  • finding problems in the incident reporting process
  • feeding back in various ways to various people about the reporting process
  • facilitating a cross-team retrospective on the Kubernetes issue that affected my team's service

  • participating in several lengthy calibration workshops as my team merges with another
  • trying to walk a line between presenting my perspective on things I find important and over-contributing
  • providing feedback and advice on the process

  • identifying a gap in the model-based tests that I've been playing with
  • making several abortive attempts to fix the gap
  • having a flash of inspiration and actually fixing it
  • showing that the model can now find a product bug that it previously did not
  • using the model-based test runner to explore the product with a bug fix
  • noticing some oddities in passing while doing all of that
  • digging deeply into them and finding two previously unknown product issues
  • discussing and investigating those issues with different team members
  • working together to understand the extent, likely risk profile, and priority of them

  • reviewing unit tests for a new feature
  • talking to the developer about refactoring them for readability and maintenance
  • sketching a refactoring approach and discussing it with the developer
  • refactoring the tests
  • pairing with a different developer to review the changes and explore additional tests
  • adding new tests based on the exploration

  • ensemble testing with medical doctors on an issue they'd seen in their testing
  • understanding enough of the issue to speculate where in our infrastructure it might be
  • sketching our architecture just enough that the doctors could understand my hypothesis
  • searching our codebase for a smoking gun, and failing to find it
  • finding someone from another team who would know where to look for the gun
  • quickly pairing with them and finding the cause of the problem
  • putting relevant information in the right place to get the problem fixed
  • connecting the doctors with the right team to explore further

Mentally tagging those activities I see they are the mix I expected.

But what I didn't say before is that the mix is also endlessly frustrating, and this week showed that too.

Which reminds me that there's another thing I like a great deal about testing: the learning. I learn while I'm testing and I invest time in learning to help me with my testing. 

One of things I've learned over the years is to take a step back from a frustration to give myself time to refocus and to find alternative approaches.

Sometimes I even remember to do it! 

This week, I'm pleased to say, was one of them. And that amplifies my enjoyment.
Image: https://flic.kr/p/oqoNh

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