Let’s think about why in the new year it’s worth setting new challenges, changing your perspective on things, coming up with new approaches to solving problems, trying something new. again, learn from your mistakes and move on.
In general, is there a need for it?
Perhaps the first thought that comes to mind will be: My business is doing well, I’m happy with my work, I’m happy with my process. So why am I going to change anything? Pretty logical, isn’t it? But the answer is both simple and complex:
In order to keep up with the changes occurring in the modern information sphere, you need to constantly move. The world doesn’t stop and curious minds keep looking for ways to reduce testing time and improve test quality.
Nor is the QA position standing still – it is constantly evolving, just as software development processes are evolving. The attitude towards the stage of development at which it is necessary to write self-tests is changing in order to speed up development. How you can (and often should) change your tools and techniques, how you should communicate with product users to be more flexible in collecting feedback, technical specifications and requirements, visualizing the user interface and prototyping. Everything to improve the quality of the product.
In the IT industry, there is an opinion that a tester usually reaches a certain conditional limit in 2 years, after which it becomes necessary to deal exclusively with automation, or change the role to QA analyst, QA manager or upgrade to a developer role. Probably, if every day is a routine and you have to repeat the same actions: reading and analyzing requirements, studying prototypes, doing a test, writing and adding new defects to the bug tracker, rechecking defects – then it becomes easy to guess why you are tired and frustrated. You could be bored!
But there is also a way out of this situation! It is enough to change the approaches of the study of the problems, to change the approaches to the creation of the tests, to revise the methods of testing.
For starters, it is possible to find something that allows you to test faster. Something that allows you to conduct a deeper analysis of the feature and not miss important details. Believe me, everyone will be happy if you manage to improve your work and gain free time. And also, it will allow you to diversify your workflow! Monotony is a thing of the past, let typical problems be solved in a non-standard way!
You can start learning about a specific subject or a specific technology. Or even, study a specific tech stack. This will allow you to become a specialist in “your” field. Other departments and teams will want to invite you to implement a process, tool, or teach something. You can also use your knowledge and professional passion to be an example of inspiration for project colleagues, to motivate them to develop and improve the quality of work.
Let’s see which approach we can change or improve.
Everyone has their own individual approach to writing a test plan, task breakdown, application logic, requirements and defects, test cases, mind maps, tables and diagrams.
Here you can try to answer the question about goals – what is all this for? Is test documentation a product or a tool? How fast does the product change? How often do new testers appear on the project?
Approach to testing techniques
How long have you been trying to find and apply a new testing technique? Intuition, which is so good in the beginning, may not work in the end and over time missed bugs will appear. For example, it may turn out that with certain parameters an object goes into a new state or changes its value, but this was not obvious during the test phase.
Finding and applying new techniques will avoid all of this, they will allow testing more efficiently, testing problems can be solved faster and better.
Approach to analysis and idea generation techniques
Analysis of the statement of the problem, study of the functionality, study of the object under test, because the reason for the missing errors can still be an insufficiently analyzed task, incompletely collected information.
Here you can discover a new source of information. Take a look, for example, at a similar product on the market and see how similar functionality is implemented there.
Research new analysis techniques, learn modeling. Use the objects of your system and carry out the analysis according to the principle of action – parameters – values.
First, select all the available objects, describe all the actions that can be performed on those objects, then the parameters that affect the actions, then the specific parameter values.
The exercises will help you do it faster and more productively.
Change the work environment
Try changing your preferred browser, screen resolution, or desktop composition. Chances are you will look at the product differently.
Replace your favorite IDE with a new one. Try using another API testing tool. Explore other solutions, you might find something new and more convenient for you.
Review the roles and responsibilities of a tester. Explore the role and responsibilities of a tester in neighboring departments and other projects. You’ll find out what’s happening at other companies, what’s valued in testers, what’s expected of them, and maybe reconsider the answers to these questions:
Do you think QA is a tester’s job?
Who decides to release or not?
Should a tester do what managers usually do?
Invest in developing communication skills
Testers talk a lot with others and write a lot. Therefore, develop those communication and writing skills.
What generally prevents us
If you don’t know how to take the first step, then allocate a specific time, a specific task, and start with 15 minutes. And during those 15 minutes, study your subject, try something different. You don’t have to try everything you’ve learned at once. Pick 1-3 new practices and try them out. The main thing is to do it every day.
Each of us, I think, faced the fear of making a decision, of trying something for the first time. What if I don’t have enough skills and I make the wrong decision, let the project and my colleagues down? It must be remembered that mistakes are the norm of the learning process. On them we understand how not to, which means now we know where to go.
Over time, we acquire knowledge, which prevents us from coping quickly with tasks, making decisions, trying something new and taking risks. Because before trying, we start to analyze, to think everything over in the smallest details and in the end, we never try.
The solution is very simple – start with something. Just choose the first technique and try it. Either you realize later that you made a mistake and it’s a good result, now you have experience and new information. In this case, adopt the following technique, approach. Either the technique works, and then you win too.
Lack of inspiration
Then try to find it in communication with colleagues, read new books about testing and more, listen to speeches at conferences. It will give you a boost of energy and you will want to create something new and move forward.
There are many ways to change your life for the better, but the surest way is to constantly do something and improve yourself no matter what! The world is a complex thing and you can’t stay in one place – you can and should always experiment!
Article written by Boris Jacob, Senior Quality Assurance Analyst at Risk Alive Analytics