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I am a black-box tester myself. I take my job seriously and try to find new ways to improve my test design experience. I have seen some of the Software Testers in my company take their job very lightly. For them, its just simple black box/manual testing. They write beautiful test cases and mark them Pass/Fail and then they can justify the Management that they have done something, even though they don't bother to go little deep inside the AUT.

They get very happy on find low priority cosmetic issues like a "comma" is missing in the text sentence, even if serious financial transaction failure issues exists around the corner.

I asked one of those testers and he said that what's the use of trying different creative thinking techniques or heuristics to guide their test design. He seemed non-interested in any conversation related to analysis and test strategy. I think he is not using his full potential to perform his job as a tester.

He said that he just compares the product to the spec and never tries to find more interesting information that can be found outside the specification. Eventually, he doesn't find much problems in the application and then the customers reports serious production issues which cause loss of money, time and reputation.

What do you think is missing in those testers? Do they lack the skills of analysis and creativity. Is thinking deep about test ideas a waste of time, if it doesn't matter much to the stakeholders.

Do testers really need to think about a problems from many different angles, even if its testing a simple Text-box that accepts alphanumeric characters.

What would you suggest to them? What kinds of activities, resources, courses, videos, tweets feeds, blog posts would you suggest to trigger in tester the spike to be professional and look for what is important for a project?

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    Hi Jeffery. Very good question and you are right on the spot. However, I would say that a deeper discussion on this is outside the site's scope. I think if you ask about resources to engage / enhance the quality of testing in order to find deep problems would be more appropriate. If you think that's a good idea, you can edit your question. – João Farias Apr 5 at 16:11
  • @João Farias, Could you please edit the question, so that it becomes more clear. Don't close this and edit this in any way you want! – jeffery47 Apr 5 at 16:15
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    @João Farias, thanks for the perfect edit. Hope this question can get some useful answers that might be helpful to everyone reading this site! – jeffery47 Apr 5 at 16:24
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    We have a saying that you can bring a horse to a river but you cannot force it to drink. – dzieciou Apr 6 at 10:21
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Why? In some ways the answer is quite simple:

Different testers have different backgrounds, experiences and motivations

To dig into this more however, here are the areas to address in light of that with the goal of improving things - probably the main goal of the OP asking this question and other readers of the question.

Education

If folks do not have the broader viewpoint that you show, they should be provided with the opportunity to gain education, experience and the viewpoint of customers of the product. You want folks to understand why customers are choosing (or not) this companies product and what value it provides to them in their lives.

Leadership

The organization needs to do a better job of engaging employees and getting them to understand the mission and the value of the customer viewpoint. Folks need to be able to view themselves as helping customers not just 'running tests'.

Compensation

More specifically compensation that is comparable to developers to avoid the second class citizen issue. It's hard to motive testers when they see developers earning two or three times as much

Making a difference

Folks want to make a difference. If they spot things outside of scope but important they will quickly learn whether that is appreciated and value or dismissed as 'not their job'. Over time testers can become jaded or enthusistic depending on what happens when they speak out.

Involvement throughout

If testers are only involved right at the end they will not be as dedicated as if they were involved throughout the investigations, design and coding. Similarly, if testers meet with and spend time getting to know users and their underlying needs they will think more about them and the bigger picture when testing

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I don't think this question relates to software testing per se but rather the motivation of the people in question.

There are lots of theories around the psychology in play in work situations - one that might apply in this case is Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory.

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It sounds like the software tester is more concerned about Quality Control instead of Quality Assurance.

Quality Assurance is about finding bugs before they occur, reducing ambiguity of the product, creating strategy, analyzing the software, and have a mindset of reducing risk. Where Quality Control is just about finding bugs and verifying software works to spec. It’s the difference of knowing “why and how” something should work, does work (QA) and knowing “what” something is or does (QC).

What do you think is missing in those testers? Do they lack the skills of analysis and creativity. Is thinking deep about test ideas a waste of time, if it doesn't matter much to the stakeholders.

Some testers have no motivation to go beyond the surface. You can make recommendations, but they might not change. Skills and creativity can be learned if they choose to learn it. A lot of developers, managers, and stakeholders only see software testers as a Quality Control provider and don’t appreciate what QA actually is or does. This usually means lower pay and hiring people with no technical backgrounds.

Do testers really need to think about a problems from many different angles, even if its testing a simple Text-box that accepts alphanumeric characters.

Yes. Thinking about the problem will make you a better, more thorough tester. A software tester with a sense of personal psychology, or at least, compassion and empathy for the end user, will contribute more to assuring quality. The more you understand the mindset of the user, the problems the user is experiencing, the more you care about improving the software.

Also, understand the two best questions for QA to ask are "why?" and "what if?" Being curious helps to think about the problem in different, creative ways.

Having compassion and empathy will allow you to put yourself in someone else's experience. Testing software is more than just functional testing. How do you handle testing of a simple text box around internationalization, localization, accessibility testing? Using and testing the software in another language setting, using a screen reader, navigation via keyboard only, or changing the contrast/color settings help to find a lot of meaningful bugs, depending on your user. Testing for these users will always help improve the quality of the software.

What would you suggest to them? What kinds of activities, resources, courses, videos, tweets feeds, blog posts would you suggest to trigger in tester the spike to be professional and look for what is important for a project?

The software tester can go about getting a software testing certification, reading books, reading blogs by testers, learning development skills online or via bootcamps (to learn white box testing and automation). James Bach and Martin Fowler are well known in software quality circles.

It’s a leadership book, but take a look at a book called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. A lot of the concepts can be applied to QA and engineering. For a better understanding of personal psychology, user experience (UX), take a look at the godfather of UX - Jakob Nielsen @ nngroup.com. QA and UX have a lot in common.

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