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Never assume non-testers cannot test

Some test professionals are of the opinion that “only testers can test” - I am not; I say that testers are specialists who can share their skills with others and in doing so promote respect for the testing profession.

You’re in a test team, you work on test projects and for your work you receive a wage and maybe bonuses, promotions and other benefits. So why involve non-testers (or less experienced testers) in the process? Maybe it’s a necessity for a beta release programme, perhaps it’s about a crowd-sourced testing project, or a occasion such as an exercise for a team away day to bring some new energy into the team.

From my experience of crowd-sourced testing and utilising the assistance of non-testers I would like to share critical factors for success:

  • When to use non-testers to enhance your test activities
  • How to engage and properly incentivise your non-tester assistants, whilst minimising “gaming” of the system that you put in place
  • Routine aspects of testing that need to be communicated - what is a bug? how do you report a problem? how do you take a screenshot on an specific mobile device? where do you find log files?

 

Key takeaways:

Testers have specialist skills but can utilise non-testers, or remote testers, to help with testing. Guide them instead to help with test activities and increase appreciation of the testing craft.

  • Using non-/remote testers to help with testing requires careful planning, incentivisation & support
  • Properly incentivised helpers can enhance and improve the testing process
  • A framework that can be taken into the workplace and used to start gamifying straight away
  • Involving non-testers in testing activities garners intra-team respect for the work that testers do