Friday, February 4, 2011

Testing outsourced to students

Recently I have encountered a situation where some of the testing activities were outsourced to students(aka Short Term Contractors). The number of "very-detailed" test scripts were handed in order to execute them as regression testing. Students were also given a written manual for proper test execution. They had never had any experience in testing before nor in specific software context.
We expected from the students evidence for test scripts execution and raising bug reports. Personally ,I can see many concerns in such approach from the testing point of view.

1. I believe that "testing" is something more then just "test execution". When we focus on test execution we don't see anything beside the test steps and this is very similar to the automation - the machines don't care what is around the test path. We treat human as automation workforce where we expect only evidence for execution. Having in mind that complete testing is impossible how can we be sure that all possible (or at least the most important) test scripts have been prepared ?

2. For every SUT we have different group of students. It means that at the beginning of every project we need to spend enormous amount of time on answering entry-level questions. In addition we are obligated to preparing "bullet proof" test scripts in advance if we don't want to have tons of script defects errors. I wonder, if this time could be spent more wisely.

3. We are not raising good testers. If I had started testing from such 'execution activity' I doubt I would've been continuing this career path. Testing, for me, doesn't mean following someone's path but questioning what I see using my mind. We don't encourage people to question things, to resolve problems, to understand context, to have fun from testing - to use their mind. Everyone has their own perspective and when we expect to follow the script, we don't take advantage from this diversity.


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