Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why is software testing hard?

When thinking about software testing most of the people think about executing tests. In general they are correct. To be able to start executing the desired test cases there are processes defined and in some cases no processes defined.

Only testing is more then just executing test cases. It more likely a playground we are presenting, using and offering our skills and knowledge. Doing this we find our stakeholders or they are seeking us. So besides of knowledge of the system or testing we also need to able to use soft skills.
It would be easy to visualize who is asking for our expertise. You might just draw a picture about the possible stakeholders.

It would be more challenging to visualize what request for information you might get. This is what makes testing a hard profession. You have to deal with:
- Organizational processes and procedures;
- Testing processes and procedure;
- Differences in skill levels from testers, developers, architect, managers, users and so on;
- The dynamic environment were it all happens;
- Differences in management styles;
- Differences in systems, technologies;
- Differences in cultures;
- Differences in history.

To act on a playground were this all happens just executing test cases is a wrong perception to explain what testing is about. It needs more than that. It needs skills and the ability to use those skills by the ability of asking the correct questions to collect information about the system, people and organization. It needs a certain attitude to be able and allowed to gain, interpret and present information.

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