PEST5 – Testing is Social!

Last weekend Estonian Context-Driven Testers gathered for the 5th Peer Conference. The event was not pure LAWST style, as we started with workshops which were inputs for the presentations that were then discussed during open season.
The theme was about testing skills – what are used in different testing situations, which problems do they solve and are they “social” or “technical”

The three workshops were, details in the links:

  1. Hands-on testing
  2. Bug triage
  3. Release planning

Every team had 1 observer in the team to give feedback after they had ‘done’ the assignment, and then all of them were putting together a list of skills they used to solve the problems.

The three workshops concentrated on different testing aspects, but in the end have mostly overlapping problems:

  • Not enough information – how to understand, convey and handle the situation
  • Sharing your information – explaining your viewpoint, stating your point clearly, listening to others, trying to understand their point
  • Conflicting models – every role had different expectations and view of the situation
  • Co-operation – even though having a collective goal, every role seemed to want to further their own agenda
  • Behavior – taking initiative or shutting up, leading or disrupting the flow, standing your ground or looking for compromises, etc.

Also pointed out were some of the more technical skills, information analysis, test data generation, test design, etc. Not to mention the “critical thinking”, which as quickly agreed that it can (and should) be applied everywhere. But we did not venture into defining that more deeply. It would have taken at least full day of discussion.

Our goal had been to create a list of testing skills that could be used for teaching testing. We did not get that far. Partly due to the time we had, but also due to the fact that the goal was too a bit too vague. Even so I think we got a lot closer to understanding what does it take to be tester on every level.

According to general understanding testing is considered a “technical” career-path. But most of the problems we encountered during the workshop needed social skills for solving them. And we all agreed even without clearly defining “social”. I would say that those skills require a high level of collective tacit knowledge to be applied successfully, but that does not seem to be the full answer as well. Next PEST will explore it further.

In the end we agreed that testing has a big social side and learning to deal with that is essential for success.


List of participants:

Kadri-Annagret Petersen
Rudolf Elbrecht
Heiki Roletsky
Irina Ivanova
Helena Jeret-Mäe
Harles Paesüld
Elo Eilonen
Siim Sutrop
Margo Raja
Sten Mäses
Kristjan Uba
Rasmus Koorits
Oliver Vilson
Anri Niinemägi
Tõnis Juhe



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