Software QA FYI - SQAFYI

The Shift, From Stereotypical to Effective Tester

By: Modha Khammammettu

A stereotypical description of an application tester’s role is usually about being given specifications, reporting bugs, verifying and closing bugs. This stereotypical tester will have a part to play in a testing organization, but will always be considered an outsider to the project and will not have much impact on the project lifecycle.

If we step out of the boundaries and terminology used in testing, a test engineer is valuable to the project when he/she helps steer the project clear of pitfalls during the course of the project. Here are some areas that test engineers should be actively involved:

Deployment topology:
Do not wait until the application is developed to test the validity of the deployment topology. Once the deployment architecture and components are known and available, run performance tests on the topology by testing with a hello world application on the proposed deployment structure. This test will bring out issues such as version conflicts of software components like load balancers, web servers, app servers.

Participate in design and define coding standards:
Participating in the design phase helps a tester choose an automation tool that is most suited for the application. Automation tool vendors might say that any application can be recorded and played back. However, we might find that it is difficult to automate the application. A tester should be aware of how record and playback works.

Example: A web automation testing tool may be using the “id” attribute of an html tag to be able to playback what is recorded. If the development team uses technology like JSF where the id attribute will be generated dynamically, the id needs to be explicitly put in place, as otherwise automation will fail. A tester should work with the development team and ensure that the id attribute is part of the coding standard.

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The Shift, From Stereotypical to Effective Tester