Tolerance of Ambiguity
Welcome to part 2 of this series where we are discussing the traits required to be a successful uTester. Last time we saw that the best uTesters are challenged with constant change and are still successful. Now we’ll see how important it is for uTesters to be tolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty.
There are 3 areas I’d like to discuss: Exploratory testing, problems with the cycle and problems with the product under test.
The majority of work that uTesters do is exploratory testing. One of the key aspects of exploratory testing is that the testers knows very little about the product they are testing. By its very definition, exploratory testing is an ambiguous process. It’s usually the first time the tester has used the product and there are no test steps to follow.
Some testers (particularly new testers or even experienced ones who usually follow written tests) have difficulty testing when they receive little or no guidance. It can be challenging and even overwhelming to receive a product with the simple instruction of “Test it”. This is exactly what happens at uTest every day and the best uTesters know how raise to that challenge.
For a demo of how I perform exploratory testing, check out this video course.
While PMs and TTLs do their best to make cycle overviews as clear and accurate as possible, mistakes occasionally do happen. For example, there may be a discrepancy between the in-scope devices listed in the cycle overview and the devices the tester can select from when reporting a bug or claiming a test case. Or perhaps In-scope section directly contradicts the Out-of-scope section.
Poor uTesters might simply give up on the cycle, or worse, use these mistakes as an excuse to do whatever they want. However the best uTesters realize that no cycle is perfect and that it’s important to be flexible. They know that taking the time to ask clarifying questions can help them be successful and can improve the experience for the test team as well as the customer. These are the types of testers that TTLs and PMs want on their cycles.
As testers, it is often our job to find problems with the products we test. Interestingly, some poor testers have a difficult time when they encounter problems. When they can’t complete an action or find a find an issue that blocks them from testing, they respond as a typical user might; they get frustrated, complain and even quit. They forget that it’s their job to experience and document that frustration before it reaches the end-user.
The best uTesters expect there to be uncertainty in the products we test and they’re ready for it. They may evaluate the product as a user, but they don’t behave like one. Instead of being discouraged by the unexpected, they analyze the problem and provide the the customer with feedback so that they can improve the product.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these points. If you are a top uTester, what other types of uncertainty do you face?