One of the wonderful parts of testing software is that beyond the pure technical aspects of the discipline lie many opportunities for the tester to exercise their creativity in potentially game-changing ways. Although we work in a field where some of the quality assurance tasks are handed down to us from previous owners (legacy test suites, existing test cases, etc.), it is important to note that it is possible to break from the norm and provide real value by using approaches that have never been used before in the areas which we are testing. Sometimes we can see greater gains not from working harder, but by simply thinking differently. Some of this takes courage, as it is hard to differ from some of the time honored approaches. However, as my experience grows in the field, time and time again I find that the testers who distinguish themselves are not afraid to try new techniques and approaches, and are always looking for creative ways to break the product and new ways to improve. Sometimes these new techniques end in failure, and that is ok. Sometimes the new techniques spur on measurable improvements in the ways that we look at and validate the quality of the software.
There are times when testers are viewed simply as “test execution machines”, but great value can come out of looking beyond what is scripted or specified and going “beyond the tests”. What we do is more of an art than a science, and that is what keeps it interesting to me personally. Sometimes it can feel great to hear the words from your teammates "How did you think of doing that?" J
What are some ways that you are able to spark your testing creativity and/or find inspiration? Here are a few ideas that we have used in teams that I have worked in.
Comments/Questions are always welcome. Please contribute/share your own examples of inspiration and/or creativity. Thanks for reading!
-Liam Price, Microsoft