Emotionally Driven QA
Today, a QA engineer plays a crucial part in product quality and product delivery. Many tools are utilized to achieve this and also to ease the life of a QA engineer. Automation tools are being used to carryout functional test and to check whether the system can withhold the given load limitation.
Does automation testing help in identifying system defects? Does it make the testing easier? Does it reduce the time of the testing phase? It would, to a certain extent. Is it enough to deliver a stable software? Can it identify inconsistency? Would it identify potential problems? Would it give an insight on how to solve potential problems? Of course it would help. However, this is not enough to ensure a high quality delivery; automation is a method that reduces the repetitive tasks performed by a QA engineer. Automation is not a quality solution by itself. This is not an introduction to prove that manual testing is the solution for good quality. However, it is an introduction that would emphasize on the need for human intervention to successfully identify weak points in a software solution.
In testing, it is important to have a principle or mechanism (i.e. a logical process) by which we recognize a problem. A logical process doesn’t guarantee that there is a problem, but it points to potential problems; inconsistency is an important theme in a logical testing process – we suspect a problem if a product is inconsistent with its history, with comparable products, with claims made about it or with user expectations. This process is heuristic and it often works, though it can sometimes fail. My belief is that a logical testing process and automation would not be enough to identify opportunities for improving the system stability and performance; our humanity as testers plays a big role in revealing important information and problems in the system under testing. Hence comes the tester emotions.
Have you ever noticed your emotions while testing? Have you ever felt awakened when exploring a defect? When you recognize a bug in the system, the recognition is triggered by some emotions such as frustration, confusion, annoyance, irritation and curiosity, which will happen when there are inconsistency with the expectations, a bad user interface/experience, a missing feature, a trivial bug or a pointer to useful investigation. When a QA engineer feels this way, he/she has to be prepared to identify a new problem. Other emotions such as boredom, amusement and tiredness might point that the software has a good quality, or the testing being done is not efficient or insignificant. When a QA engineer feels this way, he/she has to take a break, revisit the testing strategy and ask for an advice from a third party. Otherwise, he/she can move to a different QA task, if possible, as these feelings might be caused by the QA engineer current mind set.
Do emotions play an important role in the Quality process? Please comment.