Talking About Talking About Testing

Software testing as a field is arguably still finding its feet, and often struggles to find its voice. The more Testing events I attend, the more concerned I become that the Test community is in danger of becoming an echo chamber for the same ideas put forth by a small minority. That is not to denigrate those people or their ideas; far from it. However, as a tester looking to improve, I want to hear new ideas or different expressions of current ideas.

I think we can accept that the test profession has lots of creative, rigorous people doing great testing and coming up with new ideas. Those ideas might not be ground-breaking, or paradigm-altering, or thought-provoking…… BUT THEY MIGHT BE. And that possibility means it HAS to be worth the risk for people to put it out there, but we need to minimise that perceived risk. We need to lower the – largely psychological – barriers and harness the potential of this hidden army. We need to support them in talking about their experiences and what they’ve learned.

My talk focuses not on the logistics of making those people heard, but rather on helping them to find their voice, and to encourage them to let it out.

There are many reasons why people either choose not to talk about their testing, or don’t even consider the possibility. I will dissect some of these, and provide ways by which people can remove these barriers. This will cover things like Imposter Syndrome, the Dunning-Kruger effect, and how to lie to your lizard brain.

Having hopefully (re)kindled people’s desire and rid them of excuses, I will discuss the ways in which people can be heard, what mechanisms they can use, how to come up with things to share, and how to leverage other testers to help them.

Even if people don’t choose to put themselves out there, my talk will hopefully let them understand more about how their brain – the one true test tool – functions, how their negative thought processes are hackable, and to become more comfortable with being a tester.