Finding in pride in the fact that we ask questions?

I often say how testers ask questions, as do many testers out there. That is our job.

The hard thing is that sometimes people just don’t get it.

But then Jason Fried pointed out this quote from a guy called Clay Christensen (Never heard of the guy, but I think I will spend some time learning about him now!)

Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question — you have to want to know — in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.

I point this out, because I find it interesting.

I also point it out because testers ask questions alot.

And we ask questions because we want to find out where the answer goes, to place it somewhere, to make sense of it and to open up further space for us to understand what we are testing.

If nobody else is asking these questions, then what does that mean?

Or are other people asking these questions too?


If nobody else is asking these questions, then what does that mean?

I think most of the times it means we are making assumptions.


Well said.

I think the concept of these assumptions feeds into the idea of the heuristic brain and Thinking Fast and Slow. We make uncountable heuristic assumptions during the day, and stop to analyse only when our primate brains want to expend the energy and time to do so, and have the existing models to come up with the idea. Having someone question the product with different models and question what was assumed is, I think, what people think of when they say testers have value in having a different “mindset”. Assumptions are what permits bugs to exist. Assumptions are what makes magic tricks work.

The idea of asking questions to find out where the answer goes is, to me, essentially the exploratory nature of testing. Questions are vital, but the right questions at the right time to the right person in the right way for the right reasons in the right context are what makes them valuable, and questions based off an ever-changing context (often changing in response to an earlier question) are what makes them efficient and progressive. That’s also what a good test strategy is - a worthy set of ideas generating questions in the limitations and to the specifications of a context that changes.