Testing buzz words that annoy me

Maybe I’m just too sensitive (I have been watching a lot of romantic comedies lately), but there are certain “testing” words that really bother me. Either they are way overused or they are used incorrectly or whatever. I just felt I needed to vent :)

So, here are my top 5 testing words (phrases) that annoy the heck out of me:

It depends -When does it ever NOT depend? how is this helpful? Would you just take a stance for crying out loud?

QA -This is used way to often and it is usually used incorrectly. QA stands for Quality Assurance. Quality Assurance is process oriented and focuses on defect prevention. It is a term typically used in manufacturing. We are in the defect identification and information providing business. We are not QA people, we don’t do QA. We are testers, we test!

Sapient – Yeah, I get it. You used a smart sounding word to describe testing activities so that testers sound smart. Good one. Go away….

Heuristics – I’m still recovering from how impressed I was by sapient.

Craft – I really don’t know why this one bothers me so much but I absolutely CRINGE anytime I read or hear it. Nails on a chalkboard for me.

So, what testing buzz words annoy you?

Disclaimer:
This is intended to be a fun rant. If you use these words and I’ve offended you, my reaction would depend on several factors. Maybe you should QA this post relying on your sapient abilities. Following a heuristic, take the opportunity to hone your craft. AHHHHGGGG!!!

Improve Your External Bug Videos

If you have ever tried to take a video of a bug on your phone or tablet (Or if you are a test lead or developer trying to view them) you know it can be a challenge. If you you don’t know what you’re doing, your video can difficult to view and understand.

This is my first instructional video and it’s simply awful :) Hopefully these tips will help to ensure your audience can get the full value from your videos.

One thing I want to point out. When I was using my iPhone to take the video of the Kindle, you’ll notice that my phone is in the portrait position. Videos taken in this orientation are saved sideways when you try to view them on a computer. To overcome that problem, simply make sure your phone is in landscape position when you are filming.

You can buy a Clingo stand for yourself here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003JTHN4K/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

Reporting High-Value Bugs – Part 1

I originally posted this on the uTest Forum.

Why Even Bother?

It’s no secret that a strategy to make a lot of money at uTest is to start testing the second a cycle opens, log as many bugs as fast as you can, then hope that some of them will be approved. There is little or no regard for quality or value for the customer. The cycle is viewed as a competition and it’s every tester for him or herself. You can make some good money with that strategy.

If you are a tester who uses the strategy above, and sadly I’ve seen many testers who are, this series probably won’t appeal to you. But if you are a tester who takes pride in your work and wants what is best for the customer, uTest and yourself, then you should stick around because we are going to explore some fun ideas.

Disclaimer:
Please understand that I’m not attacking new testers or testers who have a limited skillset. I’m trying to show that there is pride an honor in what we do and there can be substantial benefits to those who understand that.

In Part 1 of this series, we are going to discuss WHY testers should strive to report high-value bugs. In Part 2 we’ll talk about HOW. When I say “high-value” I’m talking about bugs that the customer approves as Very or Exceptionally valuable. I have three points to make so let’s get to it!

1. Align with uTest’s values

uTest consistently stresses the importance of quality over quantity and how we need to always consider our customers. Recently, uTest has done their part to promote this in two ways.

Rating Impact
uTest restructured the rating algorithm to make the quality of bugs have a much higher impact than the quantity of bugs. If you are interested in your rating at all, this is now the single most important factor. One high-value bug will easily offset a few rejections.

That means stop disputing low-value rejected GUI bugs. You are better off accepting a valid rejection and learning from it then you are disputing, “winning”, and not learning. It’s a hard thing to do, but I force myself to accept valid rejections even if I think I could get it approved. That sting helps me remember my mistake so I won’t make it again.

Increased Payouts
Perhaps an even more impactful change was the drastic payout increases for Very and Exceptionally valuable bugs. 1 high-value bug can sometimes pay 5 times more than a low-value bug.

uTest is constantly adjusting the system to ensure customers are getting the value they need, testers are fairly compensated, and primitive “testing” is discouraged. As uTest evolves, you will see more recognition, influence and money shifted towards the strong testers. It’s in your best interest to learn how to test professionally now. Learn to test for the customer, not yourself, and you will find that you are amply rewarded.

2. Receive more cycle invites

Occasionally, new testers message me asking how to get more projects or how to succeed at uTest. I give them some unusual advise. I tell them to ignore low-value bugs; don’t even bother reporting them. This is a very strange idea that receives some interesting responses. “But then I won’t get my five dollars!”. Yes that’s true, but that’s only half the story.

The best way to get invited to test cycles is for the PMs to know that you are a strong tester.
Think of the customer. They are most happy when they receive high-value bugs. PMs remember (and invite) testers who make their customers happy. There are over 70,000 uTesters. Why would they remember you if you report the same low-value bugs that everyone else reports?

A while back I worked the first cycle for new customer. There were 155 bugs reported. I only reported 8, but 7 of them were approve as high-value. 6 months later I received a note from the PM. The customer had another cycle starting and they specifically asked for me to be added to it. WOW! After 6 months they remembered me!

It might sound like I’m bragging here, but that’s not the point. The point is, if you only report high-value bugs, you stand out from the crowd in a big way. As a TTL I often point out these testers to my PMs so we can be sure to invite them to future cycles.

3. Become a better tester

This should be pretty obvious but maybe it’s not. If you report spelling errors all day you will become great at finding spelling errors, but you probably won’t become a good tester. If you spend your time practicing being a good tester, you might wake up one day and find out you actually ARE a good tester. I realize this is a simple concept, but so many people just completely miss it.

So that wraps up Part 1. In Part 2 we’ll look at HOW we can find and report these high-value bugs”. I encourage you to take these ideas to heart and think about your motivation here at uTest. Please feel free to ask questions or challenge these points. Like any other advice you receive, always question it and make a decision for yourself.

See you in Part 2!