Ben Simo, QualityFrog
Process and tools play an important role in software testing, but let’s not forget that the most important testing tool is the mind. Like scientists, testers are in the business of searching for new knowledge and sharing discoveries with others – hopefully for the betterment of people’s lives. In both science and software, all discovery begins and ends in human intelligence.
Software testing is one of those cognitively complex activities that even those who practice it have difficulty describing. Those who try often give more credence to instruments than intelligence. If the mind is the most important part, let’s not frame testing with processes and tools.
Over sixty years ago, William I.B. Beveridge reframed discussion of scientific research in his classic book The Art of Scientific Investigation. Rather than add to the many texts on the scientific method, he focused on the mind of the scientist. He shared principles and techniques for applying our minds to scientific research. His lessons apply to software testing today.
If we desire to discover and communicate new knowledge that matters, let’s learn to think, and test, like scientists. Let’s learn to:
- Continually prepare
- Exploit chance
- Use hypothesis
- Imagine productively
- Apply intuition and reason
- Tune observation
- Overcome resistance
Let’s learn to use our most powerful testing tool.