84: Christin Wiedemann: Smarter Testing Through Smarter Testers

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Smarter Testing Through Smarter Testers

This being the first episode of 2016, I thought it would be a good idea for us to do a testing tune-up. I love automation and testing tools, but I think we can sometimes be easily distracted by cool automation scripts or a sweet new testing tool we’ve discovered rather than focusing on why we’re doing what we are doing and making sure that it’s actually helping our team to create quality software.

In this episode Christin will teach us a simple, four-step framework that will help us focus on the things that matter. She will offer some additional tips to make our 2016 testing efforts awesome.

About Christin


After finishing her Ph.D. in Physics at Stockholm University, Christin Wiedemann started working as a software developer, but when she was asked to test on a project she realized she had found her true vocation. Christin sees software testing as problem solving and detective work with strong parallels to science, and she believe that testers can – and should – apply the scientific method.

Christin lives in Vancouver, where she joined PQA Testing in 2011. In her current role as Chief Scientist, she drives PQA's research and method development work and continues to use her scientific background and pedagogic abilities to develop her own skills and those of others.

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • I think smarter testing goes back to, again, asking questions. To use critical thinking and really being able to motive what you do. 
  • There are many different types of risks, of course, and I primarily talk about product risk. When I say product risk, I mean a way in which the software could potentially fail to meet an expectation. Those expectations can come from many places. It can be legal requirements, user expectations, business requirements, technical requirements. A risk is just any way which a software could fail to meet any of those expectations, and why tests should be designed to try to reveal those failures if they're there.
  • If you take just the simplest web page you can imagine that has a couple of input fields, a couple of backgrounds, or maybe a link. The different variations of inputs and the order in which you do the actions, it's impossible to cover everything. What you want to make sure is that you cover the most important stuff. That's what I think is the difference between testing and smarter testing.
  • The classic way to measure risk or to be able to compare risk is to use impact and likelihood. Where impact measures how bad would it be if this risk was realized, how severe is the risk? Likelihood is, of course, also probability that this is going to happen. Those two things can be quite different.
  • So much of what we do is communication. To me, really the purpose of testing is to provide information.
  • Daring to try to think of other ways of doing things. We so often talk about Agile as still as being something new and it's fifteen years old. Exploratory testing is still something very strange in certain organizations. It's been around for thirty years. There's so many ideas that we haven't maybe quite taken to heart, but they're already getting outdated. What's the next new thing? That's what I would love to see in the next year.


Connect with Christin

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