Dolly: Bad Habits During Testing Activities

This is a really hard question and gives me a lot to think of. Not because I don’t have bad habits, but because it’s really hard to recognize them. Even though I know that there is a lot to learn about testing and a lot of improvement to do on my skills, it’s difficult to figure out what I need to do better while I’m doing my job.

But this is the first step in improving my testing skills. If I manage to recognize what my bad habits are while testing, I will know what to improve next.

Neglecting the taking of notes

When I started my internship in testing, I learned about different tools for taking notes: iTester, RapidReporter, and I even took notes in my little green notebook. Every little thing (features, questions, issues) I documented in a well-organized way.

But when I started to work on an actual project, testing a complex product with lots of features, running on many platforms, I slowly forgot about this tiny but so important thing to do. Why? There are many reasons, but in essence: a bad habit.

At first, of course, I documented everything in my well-organized way, but at some point I got so used to the application that I started to document less and less. There were known bugs that were tagged with “Won’t fix” or they were “Work in progress” – bugs that became so familiar to me that I started to look with the same familiarity on other issues as well. Of course, when I discovered an issue, I spent time investigating it and logged it for the developers, but my testing report became shorter and shorter. It is not a thing I am proud of, but a thing that I started to improve after a webinar about technical testing, when I realized that I have this habit and that I have to get rid of this habit.

Falling into the inattentional blindness trap

I’ve noticed that sometimes, when I’m focused on investigating a bug, if there is another bug showing up, I tend to ignore it because I’m caught up in my investigation.

For example: I was testing some editing features for some templates with a colleague. I noticed that some editing was not saved properly. I spent half a day investigating why and when changes were not saved as expected. After a few hours, my colleague asked me if I had noticed that when opening one specific template the text was not entirely visible. And then it hit me: I had actually noticed that, but I was so focused on the saving issue that I ignored that bug so much that I didn’t even take a note to investigate it later.

This issue actually takes me back to the bad habit described above. In the mentioned tools, iTester and RapidReporter, there are some fields where you can take “off topic” notes, so you can remember later to investigate other issues spotted.

Not taking the time to reflect on the testing process

When you’re testing, inevitably you ask a lot of questions about the product. Naturally, if you want to do your job as well as you can, you will ask all kind of questions: about features, known issues, why you are testing, who the targeted clients are and so on.

Well, something I have discovered recently is that it is not enough to ask the others different questions, you have to ask yourself all kind of questions as well.

This is another bad habit that I work on to improve. While testing, the tester should always ask himself: Why am I doing this test? What is it that I’m expecting from this test? Why did this bug occur?

I would always ask myself when I discovered issues: is this the intended behavior? is this really a bug? But I rarely asked myself about my testing.

Since I’m trying to ask these questions as often as I can, I noticed that my tests are more well organized and more likely to uncover bugs.

Drawing away from technicality

Being technical in your testing leads to a better understanding of issues and increases the trust of programmers and managers in testers. When I started working in testing, I was taught to use developer tools, Charles, Fiddler, different programs to search for broken links etc. to investigate the found issues. But, when I started testing on devices, I only used Charles and I used it rarely.

I stopped being technical.

At some point I wanted to learn to use Xcode, precisely for doing technical testing, but unfortunately I didn’t have time then, and after that I didn’t try anymore.

Recognizing this habit, Xcode and similar tools will definitely go to my learning list.

So, now I wonder, what are your bad habits in testing?

P.S. I want to mention that I managed to recognize most of my bad habits after Alan Richardson’s workshop about technical testing.

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