Parachuted into a project - what questions should I ask?

Happy new year folks!

I’ve just been parachuted into a project which needs to be tested. The project is an embedded system which connects to a PC via USB and is controlled via a custom UI. It’s already in proof of concept phase and has been given to the customer for evaluation. The project is new to me and hasn’t had any test input so far, I’ve been given a product spec, software requirements + definition document. The aim of me being involved is to ensure that the product is suitably tested.

If you were in my shoes, what questions would you ask?


“Why am I only seeing this now?”


Haha, that’s already top of my list :wink:

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Q1: What kind of automation testing support has been built into the product stack?
Q2: Are we focusing on testing the driver and it’s platform support, testing the device interaction, or the UI only? Basically what is the exact ranked priority and where is the most scope for improvement or for value.
Q3: What does success look like for this product? Then go and work out how big a gap there is between where the team is now and that goal.

When you got parachuted in Mark, someone thinks you are the right boots on the ground for this. Stick with your already great skills and don’t second-guess


Happy new year!
I think the first thing I would ask is how has progress of the project been tracked?
(Im guessing the company will have used something like JIRA)
That should hopefully give me an impression of how the development team have tackled meeting the requirements.

I would then push for a project review/refinement session, as the questions I feel I would have would be based of documentation provided.

I suppose the last pressing question is how long do I have to test? The answer to that will influence how far down the rabbit testing hole I can go.

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Some great answers above.

I would add

Does it have to conform to any standards such as 2167A, SIL or AUTOSAR.
What are the project timescales?

If this hasn’t happened already, I’d ask to talk with (or go find) the people who already worked on the project. They may have good questions and some answers.
(My apologies for pointing out the obvious. Did the team on the plane give you the last 'chute?)


I think can guess, probably incorrectly I hope, what this project is - but pretty sure it’s a non-trivial thing to test if it is.
I would ask for more time, and would plan some “mini-workshops” aka exploratory testing sessions paired with a few different developers and record as much as possible of each session somehow.


Also, for what to ask, it can be a matter of what was “missed” or not accounted for, or when various folks on the project are not on the same page. Best methods to track those down are to:

  • exploratory test to get better understanding and uncover new issues
  • read through the provided documentation to gain understanding and find if anything missed
  • collaborate with folks involved in project to gain understanding of it, and find discrepancies between folks in case some folks not on the same page on various aspects of the project
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