Questions I ask myself when Testing Software

So I’m working on a project, am given a project brief and then find some questions floating in my head.

Now aside from the obvious where I want to help detect any bugs before the system goes live I also find myself thinking the following things….

What’s the point of this new system?

OK so we would’ve already been told this. But really, in simple-man’s terms – what the point of this new piece of software? How does this add value to the users/business etc?

Who benefits from this?

Now surely you’re not gonna work on something that no-one will derive some sort of benefit from. So then who exactly are they? And think, what do they want? What are their needs? Do they want something that’s easy to use; fast; likely to not have  much time; like to have all the details drawn out?

What are the risks and the potential consequences of those risks?

This one’s a biggie for me. Good to know not only what exactly could go wrong, but also the likelihood and how it could impact people on the project and then people later down the track after it goes live.

What am I missing?*

When you’re working intensively on a project, it’s possible to miss the blindingly obvious – so I make sure that I take a step back and try to see things from a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ every now and then.

 Is there any way this piece of functionality could be misinterpreted?

Some things are easier to take two ways than others, depending on the wording – some people may place emphasis on different words than others (e.g. developers  may place emphasis differently to BAs)
e.g. After logging in, the user will arrive on the homepage.
–> Questions that arise: Only after logging in? What exactly is the user’s homepage? Does the home page depend on the user? Or is there an agreed definition of the homepage by the system?

 Does this remind me of anything I’ve seen before?

I can’t help but compare little bits of the functionality to things I have already seen before. I think ‘In the past, how have I seen things, similar to this, work?’

What does my Test Lead/Test Manager/Project expect of me?

If I don’t know the answer to this – I go ahead and ask. I want to make sure we’re on the same page.

And lastly, when do I get to start test execution?

Sure, revising specs (and all that jazz) is one thing. But getting down to the nitty gritty where you see it in a test environment makes it all the more real.