In my previous post on human and automated testing working together, I showed an example of test design by humans that could be executed by automation. However, the focus point was making sure that the automation helped the humans adhere to an unambiguous domain model of what is being tested. Here I’ll follow up on that practical example with some of the theory.
One of the obstacles to covering the gap between principles of testing and the practice of testing is the mechanics of writing tests. This is particularly the case if you work in a business domain with a lot of complex business rules. This is even more particularly the case if you want to use automation. So let’s dig in to this a bit with a case study.
I recently participated in a discussion around the idea of whether testers “own quality” in some sense. The answer to me is obvious: of course not. But an interesting discussion did occur as a result of that. This discussion led to my post about what it meant to own quality across the abstraction stack. But there’s a more systemic concern with this level of thinking that I want to tackle here.
I had no idea what to call this post. My focus here is on the notion of owning quality. As in: who does so? I won’t tackle all the nuances of that wider topic here. But, due to recent discussions, I did start to think about what it looks like for testers to own even limited bits of quality in our industry that is currently focused on some form of DevOps.
I find that many testers still like to “talk in quotes.” Meaning, they like to throw out quotes or sentences and then act is if they’ve said something profound. And maybe they have. But I’m seeing more of this lately without, it often seems, the necessary ability to think beyond the quote. Let’s dig in and see if I have a point to make.
So, not surprisingly, the AI test tooling community didn’t want to engage on my AI test challenge. They saw it as being inherently unfair. And, to a certain extent, it could be. But what this really showcased was people are talking about AI and test tooling with way too much hyperbole in an attempt to gain traction. So was my test challenge unfair? Is there too much hyperbole? Let’s dig in a bit.
This is not a challenge for testers to test an AI. Although that is a worthy challenge, one I tackled a bit. For right now, I want to propose a challenge for those promoting tools that claim to perform testing, particularly when the claim is that such tooling stands a chance of replacing human testers.
Awhile back I talked about a possible test apocalypse and how you might respond to that. In honor of the current film Avengers: Endgame, I started thinking about this topic again. Here I’ll use the well-known “snap” of Thanos as my starting off point, trusting that this makes the article title a little more clear.
The title of this article is actually a little too simplistic. It’s more about asking: “Will AI Truly Perform Testing?” Or perhaps; “Will AI Perform Actual Testing?”
I’m asking here: do testers understand testing? By which I mean: do testers truly understand testing? By which I mean … okay, you know what, let’s just dig in to the basis of testing for a moment.
In a previous post I talked about why I’ve stayed in testing. Here I want to be a little more concise around the idea of how you might frame testing beyond how it is normally described, particularly if you want to get someone excited about testing as a career choice.
I’ve focused on the danger of the technocracy before, which is where we turn testing into a programming problem. This has, in many cases, infused the interview process for test specialists as well. And yet automation is important! There’s no doubt that automation is a scaling factor and a way to leverage humans better. So that does bring up an interesting dynamic when you interview test specialists but where you hope to have some sort of programmatic focus.
We all know the situation, right? We find an “issue” but in many cases it comes down to determining whether our issue is something for the developers to fix or if it’s something for product to clarify. It’s often a question framed as “Is this a bug?” Hidden within that question is dealing with the protean nature of a “bug” in current software development.
This post will continue on directly from the first post, where I introduced you to the concepts as well as an application that can serve as a guide to some of the ideas. I highly recommend reading that first post for the context if you haven’t already.