Exploratory Testing insight

Keeping the lights on when your battery is running low

Most of when I test I’m thoroughly engaged and involved and enjoying the moment. Then there are those “other” times.  Typically for me they happen in the afternoon. My sugar levels get low, I get tired, and I stop testing well.
But darn it, there’s so much testing to do! How can I and my team continue to test effectively?

The biggest trap to fall into is to continue testing without changing something. Testing’s too important to be performed without full use of mental faculties.

Its up to me to ensure I keep alert.

Here’s my list:

1) Eat!
Sugar levels are low: Have you had lunch??? No….Okay, this is basic, but don’t skip lunch. Your brain needs nourishment for all that cogntive work it has to do in the afternoon.

2) Take a break.
It sounds counter-intuitive but by taking a break and doing something completely different, gives my testing brain a break. I like to do something physical,like going for a quick walk.

3) Swap a feature
Ask a tester to swap areas with you for a while. A mental change of scenery if you will.

4) Make it enjoyable
Find some way to make testing a bit fun for the team. Perhaps

3) Use the Trish Khoo method
At the start of a testing iteration, she asks the question “What can I do differently” or “how can I make testing more fun”? What a great approach!

There’s other ways to take breaks too.

4) Talk to a tester

I have to watch out for this one, as I need to take into account other testers may be “in the zone” but if someone is free its great to have a chat.

5) Talk to your peers

Again, timing is the key here. I find this one very invigorating, it also helps me take a step back from my immediate focus and see the “big picture”

6) Tweet, Blog, Share

I’m finding this one a bit hard at the moment as the company I’m doesn’t allow skype or twitter. But when I can, I use my phone to keep in touch with testers outside where I’m working.

For me its a mixture of making testing enjoyable, taking breaks and mixing things up.

What do you do to keep alert while testing?


By Anne-Marie Charrett

Anne-Marie Charrett is an internationally recognized expert in software testing and quality engineering.
She keynotes at international conferences on the topic of Quality, Coaching, and Leadership.
Ex-Head of Engineering at Tyro Payments where she transitioned testers to a quality coaching model
Consultant on Quality Engineering, developer of the quality operating model. Invented and rolled out a consulting model for quality engineering.
Consulting across FinTech, Media, Government, Insurance, Banking & Telco Sectors
Creator and Lecturer of Enterprise Software Testing course at UTS Australia. Co-developed a coaching model aiming to transfer testing skill and know-how using the Socratic method.
B.Eng (Hons) Electronic Engineering (I really am a quality engineer!)
Based in Sydney, Australia works – internationally.

One reply on “Keeping the lights on when your battery is running low”

Good post Anne,
I know the most productive part of my day, that is before lunch 🙂

I usually allocate the most challenging part in the early day, so that i can perform testing with fresh mind, the tests which are bit boring :), I execute on later half of the day.

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