What does testing mindset mean to you? What's your tester mindset?

What does testing mindset mean to you? What’s your tester mindset?

Here’s something I collected from the leaders and fellow awesome testers:
-1. Critical thinking
-2. Curious learning and exploring
-3. Evaluating the possibility of failure
-4. Risk evaluation
-5. Analytical mind



Hello @testerawesome!

Great handle!

In addition to your list, I have found that a testing mindset has a lack of bias, an ability to see many possibilities where others see few, and a distinct orthogonal approach to some challenges. I’ve also found that testers have a wonderful sense of humor.



I would add empathy to this list. (or in the context of the question, empathic thinking)
Or possibly the watered down “thinking like a user”.

And systems thinking. How does this system interact with other systems?


Great topic and good answers too.

I would like to add something that is not the most critical but something I have found lacking a lot and that is: Business Oriented

This could be the same as saying risk aware. But I’ve seen that misused to many times for that to be valid anymore.


Flexible - able to switch between big-picture (which could also be called business-oriented) and detailed analytical mindsets at need.
Inside-out thinking - able to find gaps between expectations & reality, between assumptions & expectations, and so forth.
Integrated - which starts with systems thinking and goes from there.

I second @devtotest on being able to think at strange angles (or orthogonal) - I’ve heard it called “thinking outside the box” which tends not to describe testers quite so much as “Where is this box everyone keeps talking about?”


1 - How can I understand / discover the main product risks for people interested in it?

2 - What is the best way to present my learning / discoveries to them?

3 - What can I do to make (1) and (2) easier, more reliable, and faster - so I can tackle risks that were left out (consciously and unconsciously) due time constraints?

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  • Making sure the app doesn’t do what it isn’t supposed to do (which is different than making sure it does what it is supposed to do) but in an efficient manner.
  • Being able to spot patterns
  • Good memory
  • Ability to solve puzzles

I really like @katepaulk idea of seeing big-picture and detailed.


great topic, i wrote a blog on this


Great post, especially on the example of questions may bring out more questions. Testers don’t take things for granted. “Why the sky is blue?” Love it.

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Solve the puzzle :+1:

I don’t think as testers we should or can have just one mindset. The ability to think in different ways and from different perspectives is one of our super powers.

A very under considered, underrated and valuable one is the inclusive mindset. Looking at how different types of people interact with our systems is very important, in my humble opinion.


For me, “testing mindset” is the willingness of the tester to learn, to be willing to take on any task needed to help the team, willingness to collaborate with people in any role or specialty on the team, and passion for learning. If someone has the right attitude and mindset, I feel I can help them learn whatever specific skills they need to help our particular team and product. A big part of a tester mindset is curiosity, and not afraid to ask questions. Also a willingness to help others on the team build their own testing skills and work together with the whole team to find better ways to build quality into their product.


Oh, this is such a great point. We each have our unconscious biases, so an ability to see different perspectives is so valuable. And this is why we need a diverse team, because it is incredibly difficult to overcome unconscious biases - being aware of them doesn’t help that much.


thanks, @lisa.crispin such an important point about diverse teams. While I do my utmost to put myself in other’s shoes and think from many perspectives, I don’t have those life experiences to truly replicate others. My effort will only ever be my best effort so there’s always something that’s missed.

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Testers are humble :wink:

Always asking self what I may have missed due to my current understanding of the AUT or user expectations.

I should get another new pairs of eyes to have a look. I should talk to another tester to verify.

What else I may have missed but not aware of. Am I focusing on the most important things at the moment? Is it critical to someone?

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Janet Gregory’s talk on “discusses changing a tester’s mindset from “How can I break the software?” to “How can I help deliver excellent software?”, using examples and advising how to apply it on agile projects.” Definitely inspired me on my current research on the current tester mindset.

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And Michael Bolton on the testing mindset podcast

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Here is another good one from James Bach


Here is another example of tester mindset illustrated by an example

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I have been working with my idol and mentor in the last a few weeks about the mindset discussion.

During the process, we talked about if it is changing as testers learned more and practiced more and “matured” more. We talked about how the mindset may change from “break” to “assist”. We also talked about if it is more of expanding of the mindset like onions instead of being linear change.

We tried to see if there is something or one thing unique about testers mindset. We found we don’t agree all a lot of things, and the different schools of software testing surfaced up in our discussion. It’s getting very interesting…

We keep digging until we realized we may be in a rabbit hole. Then, we paused and revisit our original intent.

We thought… (From a tester perspective)

Developer is with a build mindset when approaching ideas, features, user stories, implementations, maintenance etc.

Tester is holding the critique perspective from ideas through into the production. Possibly we believe in whatever we have at the moment can be better.

At the end, I was laughing myself with this finding as it is not very surprising. We are kind of finished at where we started but I enjoy the process of finding it.

Do you agree with this finding?

Your thoughts :point_down: