Information Technology Dark Side

Struggles of a Self-Taught Coder

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Testing ruts you should stay out of

August 12th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Most of these ruts are the result of test fatigue. They are signs that your energy level is suffering. Sometimes, just recognizing you are in these ruts is enough to fix them. Other times it means you need a break. Take a walk, get a drink, write some code, read an article, etc. to re-energize yourself.

  • Randomly pounding the keyboard for data entry. “Asdf” for every field on a web page is a good sign you are getting worn.
  • Not taking good notes. Are you only recording bugs found? Not making notes of tests that seemed to work. You are tired.
  • Chasing esoteric bugs when you don’t have time. Are you caught up in a completely unrealistic scenario but you just can’t make yourself pull out even though you have more important test charters to work on? Work avoidance behavior!
  • Not bothering to isolate bugs. You did x, y, and z and the app crashed, so you filed a bug report and moved on. Does it crash with just x? Are there variants of y and z that don’t make it crash? How do they work together. If you don’t know and don’t care, you need to power up. Go stomp on a mushroom.
  • You can’t think of any error scenarios to test. Happy path test and done? Your brain is becoming disengaged – do something creative to get it back in gear.

Testing takes energy if you are going to do it well. Being conscious of your energy and managing it well means better software because you’ll find more bugs that are meaningful.

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