Who Said Multiple Personalities Were Bad?

When asked about QA or more specifically Software Quality Assurance I always try to find creative ways to explain to people what exactly it is that we do. Often times I would compare what we do to what a building inspector does. I'd say, We basically check other people’s work to make sure they are up to code. Where the requirements would be our building code.

But in reality we are so much more than that.

If you truly wish to test software you would need to have multiple personalities. Let me explain. There are distinctly five different personalities you need to adapt when testing. Essentially you need to be the dork, the space cadet, the cheerleader, the sneak and the rebel (much like the recipe to the old 80's teen movies). These personalities make up much of the Internet's population and sadly are also the cause of many undue headaches. Allowing one personality to dominate over another really depends on your targeted audience, your required level of security and how much time you have to test your projects. The personalities are described as follows:

The dork or what I call “By the book Bob” is someone who follows all directions. He is told exactly how to use the system and he reads every instruction and never deviates from the coder’s happy path.

The space cadet or “Lazy Lucy” is someone who doesn’t bother reading the instructions at all. She would use the system the way she wants to and the way she assumes it should work.

The cheerleader or “Enthusiastic Ellen” is someone who doesn’t read the instructions and loves to try out every little function the application has. She’s extremely excited about the application and can’t wait to try literally everything the company releases out.

The sneak or “Hedging Henry” is someone who is trying to exploit the application to his advantage. He would see if maybe he wouldn’t have to pay for a service. Or maybe he would “borrow” content. Better yet why not exploit this site so that he can make some money off of it.

And finally the rebel or “Dangerous Dan” is someone who just wants to crash your system. Why? It's fun to do so. If he can make it so that your company can lose a day of revenue, all the better.

People always wonder why it takes so long to test something. Well. There are about 7 billion people in the world. All of which can be categorized into these five personalities. If you really want your system tested properly, your system would at least have to go through testing five different passes. Add to that the time you'd need to regression test all the features when something is touched. But that's a whole different post right there.

Just something to think about … Happy Testing!