Sunday, January 3, 2021

A-Z of Testing Tips: A for Awareness

Wish you all a very happy new year 2021.
Let us use the experience gained in 2020 to make the best use of 2021.

Based on the talk given at #TestFlix -, I want to expand my eight minutes talk into a series of blog posts. 

Here is the first of such posts where I will talk about A - Awareness


Awareness Stage

  • The four stages of awareness and knowledge
    Know that you know
    Know that you don't know
    Don't know that you know
    Don't know that you don't know

    Where are you in these four stages w.r.t testing?

  • Awareness of your time
    Many testers when test, are not even aware of what they are upto.
    Do you know how much of your time is spent on which activity in testing?

  • How do you test?
    Is there a structure of how you test and most of your actions are consciously thought of?
    Do you just follow someone's instructions without even understanding the why behind the how?

  • Industry trends
    Are you so behind the trends that someone who interacts with you feels that you are ages behind, especially if you are supposed to be the expert at that task?
Be super-aware of what's happening both in the industry and also when you test, work with your team members. I have seen many testers perform actions and chit chat or play games that they have absolutely zero idea of what's happening on the system. They are not testing. They are going through the motions, as they say. Don't be one of them.

If you are not aware, how will you improve?
If you don't improve, be ready to be replaced by someone who is less expensive than you :)

Application Stage:
  • What's your next step?
    Once you know that you have to be aware, what will you do now?
    Do you know in which situations you need to improve? Based on that you can now focus on improving.

    For example, if you feel that you make a lot of mistakes in understanding the requirements, pay attention to what you do when they are being discussed. Are you really listening or waiting for your chance to speak? I know that it is not as easy as I have written in the sentence above. And that is where the practice - conscious practice - comes into the picture.

    Remember that if you know and you don't apply in situations which demand application, it is as good as not knowing. 

  • Being more self-aware
    It comes down to habits, retrospections and the cost of mistakes. Being aware 100% of the times in 100% of the activities might be taxing. Instead pick certain high value/cost activities and practice being aware. Slowly, you might observe that you are getting better at self-awareness, till it becomes part of your muscle memory.
Growth Stage
  • Did you follow-up?
    Many, almost everyone wants to improve. The first stage is to be aware that one needs to improve. The second is to take actions. The third (growth stage) is to evaluate the actions taken and the results and course correction (if needed). 

    I have seen many take the first two steps and then lose track because they are not tracking it. If you don't track, unless you have mastered it and made a habit part of your muscle memory, the chances are high that you might get back to old habits.

    Let me give one classic example here:
    When the appraisals happen, the majority promise that they will act on the feedback. The first few weeks after the appraisals, you see the changes. Then the changes disappear. To grow, one needs to be aware of the key items all the time and not just temporarily. 

  • Any changes required?
    You tried few changes, you now see the results. What do you do now? Are the actions yielding the right results or do you need to do any more changes? Close the loop.
To summarise:
  • Be aware of what you do
  • Be aware of what's expected of you
  • Do the necessary changes
  • Review after performing the changes

The full talk is available here: A-Z of Testing Tips 

My other videos: YouTube Channel

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