I’ve released a new video, which is a whimsical look at a serious subject: explaining exploratory testing.
In the video, my brother and I independently test an “Easy Button” for 10 minutes. Neither of us had seen the other’s test session. Then I edited the 20 minutes of total testing down to a 4 minute highlight reel and added subtitles.
The subtitles are important. One of the core skills of excellent testing is being able to reflect upon, describe, explain, and defend your work. The rhetoric of testing is a big part of Rapid Testing methodology.
So, everything we did, we can explain. If someone stops me when I’m testing, I can give a report on the spot, in oral or written form, and I can put specific technical terminology to it. In my experience, most testers are not able to do that, and there’s one major reason– they don’t practice. It does take practice, friends. While you were enjoying your Sunday, my brother and I were challenging each other to a testing duel.
You might quibble with me about the specific terminology that I used in the video. Indeed, there is a great deal of leeway. One single test activity might simultaneously be a function test, a happy path test, a scenario test, a claims test, and a state-transition test! There’s no clean orthogonality to be found. And as you already know if you read my blog, I reject any “official” lexicon of testing. But I’m not just throwing these terms around, I can explain each one, and say what is and is not an example of it.
What about the Easy Button?
Our principal finding is that the Easy Button is extremely durable. I’m surprised at the high quality of the fit and finish. Also it feels solid (I discovered why when I disassembled it and found apparently lead weights inside. Plus, the button surface is amazingly resilient to repeated hard blows with a rock hammer).
But I’m also surprised that it claims not to be a “toy.” Of course it’s a toy. Of course little kids will play with it.
If I were seriously consulting about testing it, I would probably suggest that its physical qualities were more important to validate than its functional qualities. There appears to be little risk associated with its functionality. On the other hand, there appears to be little risk with its physical qualities either.
I would suggest that it’s far more important to test the web version of the “Easy Button” than the physical version. I would move on to that.