Is It Ready For Test?

Usually when someone thinks that something is “ready for test”, they are probably referring to something that is almost complete but you are just looking for a sign-off from a tester/QA. In these cases, you may find a separate column in a tool like Jira called “Ready for Test”. Only when something has made it into this column, is something deemed worthy of a tester’s time.

This is one way of looking at it. And depending on your past experience, and more importantly what you think testing is, and what it is trying to achieve, you may think this is a good way of going about it, or that there must be a better way.

What is testing trying to achieve?

I think we test software because we want to know the state of the feature/application etc.

If we only have requirements or even just a rough idea currently available, then we would be testing the requirements or the rough idea.

What is the state of the requirements or rough idea?

Is it testable? Is there anything, that it seems we haven’t considered yet?

Shortening the feedback loop

When I look at the question, “Is it ready for test?”, I’m actually asking myself, is this something I want feedback on?

With the traditional view of thinking only a completed feature is ready for test, you already have a fairly long feedback loop between what has happened, and when the feedback is shared.

But then wouldn’t you want feedback sooner rather than later?

The value of short feedback loops

I don’t know about you, but I prefer short feedback loops and prefer to address things as soon as they come up.

In my team, I’ve asked my team how they feel about receiving feedback as I observe things, and they said they are open to it (instead of just waiting for performance reviews).

I make an effort to share feedback with my team members as I see things happen. If I think what they did was effective, I let them know including the impact I saw it have. If I see they did something that I thought could be done better next time, I share that feedback too, and then we have a conversation around that.

Now if I waited until the performance review to deliver feedback (especially in areas where I think they should improve), then they are being put at a disadvantage as they haven’t yet had a chance to address the feedback “when it matters”, i.e. when salaries are also being negotiated. While performance reviews and salary reviews are two separate things, you can’t deny there is a relationship between the two.

Now you may be wondering, what’s this got to do with something being ready for testing?

Well, don’t you think people would prefer to receive feedback sooner rather than later, in a timely fashion when the stakes aren’t so high?

Other suggested reading:

Dan Ashby has a fantastic blog post on testing in devops, where he illustrates you can test throughout the process.