Monday, 25 June 2018

10 Minute Rant 2: Ten Skills that are Probably More Important for Testers than Tools and Test Automation

My second ten minute rant blog, designed to break out of a spate of blogger procrastination.

(With credit to Sprint 4: The Bloggers Club on the Club, Ministry of Test)

1) Analysis and Systems Thinking

2) The Ability to Communicate with Tech Colleagues, Support, Management, Business People and Stakeholders

3) Observation, Modelling and Note Taking

4) Curiosity and a Desire for Exploration

5) Tenacity

6) Empathy for the User

7) Business Domain Knowledge

8) Formulating Rational and Consistent Arguments

9) Persuasiveness and Influencing Skills

10) Common Sense

Each of these so-called "soft skills" are critical for testers to truly perform well (IMHO) and yet most generic testing or QA job ads I see these days gloss over the above (if they are even mentioned at all) and involve a checklist of test case management and defect reporting tools, programming and test automation technologies. People can learn tools and how to program - it is much harder to rectify deficiencies in most of the above.

I suspect that the reason for this is that employers and recruiters tend to think that programming and test automation can either overcome deficiencies in the above or that testers are fungible and all have some default level of skill in the above simply by virtue of the fact that they call themselves testers.

Sad really…


  1. I very like the addendum about the HR departments. I can recall at one of my previous customers a curious situation, when it was already clear that I will be pursuing new challenges. Mind you, I had spent 2 years at that customers' location, and helped improve the test design and documentation process considerably, which had improved test and dev cooperation immensly, and made the devs much more interested in helping us test the product. We were a test team of maybe 6-7 people.

    Then there was a replacement for me hired (a junior), and I had spend considerable amount of time training him in the product and process. Then I went off to prepare handover and any produce any missing documentation regarding the infrastructure, and on my almost last day, I can hear him say something to the degree "I think we are designing the test cases completely wrong" to a colleague who wasn't even engaged in the process that much.

    I was flabergastered, but decided to give him benefit of the doubt. Took him to side, and in hopefully kind and explanatory manner presented why things are how they are, and what challenges had been previously encountered and how current process adresses them. I also acknowledged that the process is far from perfect (it was really), and asked about his opinion. He went on to describe the process we have had previously, almost to the letter.

    I asked him why he had thought that his proposal was better and how it adressed the challenges that I have previously listed. His answer?

    "I just think my approach is better". Well, you go get'em tiger. Go get'em...

  2. I would like to add 3 additional skills:
    1.Good knowledge of development and testing standards.
    2 Good knowledge of SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle).
    3.Testing Methodologies and Techniques.