The best tester I ever worked with

Reading an entry on James Bach’s blog reminded me of the best tester I ever worked with. It got me thinking about how he did it.

Like most testers, he had an uncanny ability to break the product: a co-worker calls this “Hands of Breaking.” But he also had an intimate understanding of the relationship between the code’s modules.

I never considered before how that was possible. He had no programming experience. He never looked at the code.

Perhaps something of the code’s structure pokes through into the product; something a tester can see that I can’t? Perhaps he can see it because he’s blind to the underlying structure and I can’t because I’m not. Whatever it is, more exposure, even to a broken product, seems to improve that awareness.

Maybe while I’m logging my defect reports I should take care to avoid supposing what the problem might be and just record what’s happening at the surface. Maybe I can also develop a tester’s eyes.

I’d forgotten about this experience until James’ article reminded me. How many other revelations lie hidden in my experiences waiting for the right cue to become clear.

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