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Three Reasons Software Testers Need to Ask Questions By @ZalinCal | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Being inquisitive and asking questions whenever possible spurs innovation

It's a well-known adage that curiosity killed the cat, but this drive to figure things out is something that can be critical for software testers. People are often taught from an early age to question everything in order to gain a higher understanding. This characteristic is something that likely will not be on the job requirement list, but will still be expected from quality assurance professionals. Being inquisitive and asking questions whenever possible spurs innovation and will improve your capabilities in QA management.

Questions breed innovation
Part of a tester's job involves the ability to find and mitigate bugs within a particular program. While you may be able to execute your current tests, it's unlikely that these cases will always be viable. For this reason, QA professionals must be able to ask what types of issues they are up against, what platforms must be evaluated and how test scripts can be revised to be usable for the foreseeable future. This constant state of analysis is essential for keeping software up to user and organization standards.

Among other manual processes, experimental testing remains a big factor in app development. This approach requires the tester to ask questions and reevaluate their circumstances based on the results. TLNT contributor Ron Thomas noted that tech leaders have often had ideas that they would not back down from, despite any failures along the way. If something didn't work, they would simply ask questions and restrategize based on the answers yielded.

"When a person has this trait, they inquire," Thomas wrote. "They ask questions. They become relentless in finding out the answers. They try different things to get the answers they seek. By nature, this person needs to know as much information as possible."

Seeing the big picture
While it's important for testers to understand how each component of an app functions, they must keep the bigger picture in mind when evaluating the program. Network World noted that QA employees must be able to see the larger context of a feature as well as the pieces that comprise it. This type of knowledge is essential for building questions, creating development strategies and designing tests to further the project's goals. In these cases, testers must be able to testing metrics. Doing so will allow testers to clarify any items and create a product that fully fits with what the users are looking for.

Another important aspect of asking questions is that it inherently enables people to continue learning. If you don't know the answer to something, gaining this knowledge could help improve your capabilities and ensure that all elements are being addressed appropriately. According to the EuroSTAR conferences blog, being inquisitive and questioning commonly held truths are critical for the software testing process as they lead to reflection and potential solutions.

"If you're not asking or thinking about questions then you're probably not learning," EuroSTAR stated. "Do you know what assumptions you work with in your daily work? Are they good/okay to have? Do you know why you are doing things? Maybe, now is a good time to re-evaluate."

Prepare for projects with inquiries
Even before a tester approaches a piece of software, they must ask questions to know what they are up against. Some of these queries may include what tools are available, the requirements of the app and the platform, technical limitations and any situations that haven't already been tried, according to Galmont Consulting. Investigating these elements will help QA teams gear up for the project and be prepared for whatever happens next. This forethought can save a lot of time and energy, especially if testers are prepared to quickly mitigate a defect.

If an issue should appear that was not thought of, this could significantly set back the project's timeline and reduce the amount of funding available to complete the product. For this reason, being inquisitive is an essential trait for testers to have. The effort to pick apart a situation will be imperative to an app's quality and a QA teams overall success.

Although asking questions and being inquisitive isn't normally something listed in the job description, software testers with these characteristics will likely be more valuable and successful than those without them. This is not something that can be taught, but rather something that should be innately accepted, honed and leveraged for the benefit of the tester, the product and the business.

More Stories By Sanjay Zalavadia

As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay Zalavadia brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies.

Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse. Prior to this Sanjay was responsible for Global Technical Support at Bay Networks, a leading routing and switching vendor, which was acquired by Nortel. He has also held management positions in Support Service organizations at start-up Silicon Valley Networks, a vendor of Test Management software, and SynOptics.

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