Hina Sharma


Hina Sharma

Hina is a Test Lead at IBM India Pvt. Ltd., Pune India. She is a Bachelor of Technology – Electronics and Communication Engineering. Hina has 16 years of hands-on experience in Testing is on varied domains like Investment Banking, Retail Banking and, Messaging and Cloud. She believes in holistic testing of the AUT otherwise you have not tested it at all. Her areas of interest lies in being Agile, Test and Infrastructure automation, Continuous Testing. She likes to blog and create some interesting videos for work and play.

Topic: Relish your journey to Software Testing Masterchef

Abstract: In the past 5 months of lockdown all of us have turned into craftsmen in various areas, particularly cooking! Since our support system of domestic help, as well as ordering food or eating out, took a major hit, we had to rely on our own culinary skills and sometimes that of other family members. We exchanged recipes and tips on cooking, gamely tasted dishes we had never dreamt of tasting when served by our spouse, and gave tactful evaluations. This process of giving constructive feedback to improve the quality and experience of cooking is analogous to software testing! The process of mastering the feedback by getting our own hands dirty with the whole experience (grocery shopping, tools for cleaning, chopping vegetables, grinding, mixing, understanding ingredients, nutrition value, temperature while cooking etc.) and then identifying relevant gaps for improvement is nothing but ‘test craftsmanship’.

Just as with cooking, even though 2 people follow the same recipe, process and tools, the resulting dish tastes better with one cook compared to the other. Thus, it would be appropriate to infer that the cook also adds value to the entire experience. A well-developed process that incorporates an effective toolset, and testing approach, makes things easier for everyone. But being a good software tester is about taking personal responsibility for making things better. A craftsman is a person with a specific skill that is honed through years of experience. He/she needs to first have a spark to want to deliver excellence, the handholding of an able mentor, and lastly, the ability to articulate in the language of the people he/she works with. All this added to rigorous application of the skill, over a period of time, makes one the leader in his/her field.

Craftsmanship is learning to grow yourself and learning where you fit in the broader ecosystem. To be a true test craftsman, one can start by asking oneself the following questions:
• How can I delight our stakeholders?
• How do I present our gourmet meal (product quality) to our stakeholders?
• What things leave a bad taste in our development process?
• How can our developers and testers stir up a winning batter and also identify the lumps(risks)?
• How can I add more garnish to the product backlog conversations with the product owners?

Tools will never replace the toolmaker—nor should they. Testers aren't just meant to set up automated testing then sit back and service the testing software while it does the work. In fact, the goal of 100% automation isn't just unrealistic, it's inadvisable. The purpose of automation is to get checks in place. These tripwires are set up as an early warning system so you can focus your efforts elsewhere, preferably on improving processes and adding value. If your automated testing becomes too bloated, you miss out on the real benefits.

The role of the tester in bringing the team together is absolutely critical. Testers, developers, and project managers shouldn't be separate. They need to be working in a smoothly integrated way via tools as well as in person meetings. It's time to break down the cubicle walls and bring everyone together. It takes a village to build software. A master tester can be the glue that binds the entire team together.

With new technologies coming in at an alarming rate, a tester needs sharpen the axe regularly. Cloud testing, Artificial Intelligence testing, security & penetration testing are becoming a norm, to name a few. As a quality gatekeeper, you should never be intimidated by the amount of testing to be done but instead stay inquisitive on the why and how of testing. It is important to understand that a tester’s job does not begin once the product is developed, but right from the requirements gathering and design stages. Testing is a combination of the right approach and toolset, correct understanding of the system under test and a passion for quality. The tester’s job is not completed until the defects she reports are accepted, resolved and verified before the code goes into production. And even after that, when defects are reported from the field, studying these escapes and enhancing the test coverage to fill in the gaps for future releases. It is this attention to detail, articulation of the problem at all levels and validation of the improvements ad infinitum, that makes an ordinary test engineer a craftsman, and an ordinary software product into a signature dish.

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