How would you define software testing?

(Heather) #1

I saw a blog post released recently called 41 Definitions of Software Testing. When I was reading it one missing word really struck me: Risks.

I didn’t see any mention of risks in the 41 definitions. I, personally, found the definition from the Software Testing Clinic to be a better rounded definition. Having recently taken RST with @mb1, I don’t think I could write a post about this without mentioning his blog post Testing is…

I’d like to discuss our own definitions of software testing in a safe space where we might refine them as we discuss.

How do you yourself define software testing? Does it differ to any of the suggestions above?

(Brian) #2

I do like the way MB used the language, “among other things”. In my experience, a role in a team can not be defined by a simple, “this role is” statement. Not testing, not programming, not managing. Further, most job adverts which say “testing” miss the mark about what they really need in a tester.

So, I’ll begin with things that aren’t in either list:
Testing is, among other things, helping your team to identify the risks of releasing your product in its current state.
Testing is, among other things, helping your team to understand the risks of releasing your product in its current state.
Testing can be (not always is), among other things, acting as an advocate for our customers.

(Paul) #3

Identifying Risks

Looking for potential issues

Correcting Misconceptions

Reporting first hand information about a product

(Chris) #4

The art of making reality more accessible

(Heather) #5

This is one I’ve never heard before. I like it! It opens the floor for so many more questions.

(Andrew) #6

The basic definition I tend to use is ‘the discovery and investigation of risk’.

I like this one as it easily fits in with early testing of ideas, entire team collaboration in discovery and investigation and primarily the general ‘activity’ nature of testing.

It also fits with my preference of looking for testers who fit sort of highly technical Sherlock Holmes type hats.

I do though occasionally work with test missions that do not lean entirely towards that definition but I have not yet found it of value to have one definition of testing that would cover all possible testing missions.

(Rosie) #7

I don’t understand some of them.

Like: ‘Testing is learning to think well.’


I don’t (personally) believe that is what testing IS. Testing might involve that but testing is not thinking well.

(I inserted the ‘personally’ bit so I don’t get attacked for being wrong :smiley: )

(Kate) #8

My personal working definition is - approximately -

Software testing is the process of evaluating the ability of software to solve the problems it is intended to solve.

There’s a lot of implied other information nested in that definition, but it gets at the reason testing activities happen.

(Javier Aguirre) #9

is the activity that ensure the right behaviour and quality of any software.

(Sam) #10

I attempted to put some thoughts into words (with the help of a freelance writer) into this blog

I think everyone should develop their own pitch for:
Explaining software testing to a 5 year old, a 15 year old, a product manager, a software engineer and to a colleague. Kinda like how this video tries to explain cryptocurrency on 5 different levels.

(Kim) #11

@rosie I thought I could think well prior to becoming a tester because that’s why I left insurance and moved into testing hehe…