I was talking with some colleagues about test design today – most of us learned to test by being told “here, test this”. Over time, we add tricks to our toolbox, and eventually, we can all fake our way through testing (slight sarcasm intended).

Then yesterday, I was talking to a group of test managers and had a great discussion about determining the value of testing – specifically, we were talking about how, given all of the possible testing possible, do we determine what is most valuable for a given situation. We leverage experience and intuition along with a whole pile of of data, and we’re still not always sure we’re doing enough (or too much).

Then a lot of testers are responsible for thinking about quality too (note – I sais a lot – not all, or even many). Some testers are responsible for thinking about quality processes for the entire team and figuring out how everyone can make better software together.

We have hundreds of potential tools and approaches and methods to choose from for any situation. Sometimes we pick the right combination – often we don’t even know about the tool, approach, or method that would work best, so we substitute something we do know about (if all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail).

Then we have to communicate information. Worse yet, we often have to communicate negative information without being seen as negative people. It seems like we’re always the people that have to point out the big pink elephant in the room.

But you know what I think? I love that testing is hard – it keeps the simpletons from advancing in the profession. The testers who aren’t serious about it can’t cut it and quit. What’s left after years and years of experience are some pretty kick-ass testers (plus some of us who just write about them).

Testing is cool!