Which resources can I use to learn to ask good questions?

This is a followup from ReTestBash 2023

For me, learning starts with asking questions. Can you recommend resources on how to learn to ask good questions?

@testerfromleic you said you had some book titles in mind :blush:


Hi Susanne, thank you for posting your question!

There actually is a resource that would recommend and I completely forgot about it on the live stage :grin: A couple books by Gerald Weinberg come to mind, in particular these two:
Are your lights on?
An Introduction to General Systems Thinking

They’re not about asking questions specifically but more about challenging your point of view and things you thought were a given.
Gerald Weinberg is a classic in software development, really - highly recommend reading anything by him, even books he wrote 50 years ago are still incredibly relevant for today’s software development teams.


I really like those 2 resources, they proved to be great for many years so far:



Thank you Eva! I’ll check out the books. Systems Thinking is a great foundation for testers, regardless of whether they wanna learn how to ask questions or not.

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Thank you Piotr! Asking to ask is definitely a bad habit that all of us should aim to get rid of :sweat_smile:

The smart questions page is a super valuable resource. I’ll add two more links here, about the broader topic of asking questions (can’t remember whether I found them on MOT or somewhere else):


Here are a few posts I found useful on how to ask questions (and provide answers as well)

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Ooh, this is a brilliant thread. Thank you for sharing, @susanne.sporys, @baysha, @pwicherski and @al8xr.

Got a feeling we should set up a “Tips for Asking Questions” wiki page here to keep it in one handy place. :thinking:

You can see some existing examples in the :books: Wikis category.

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A lot of these links are very useful for asking other people for help solving a problem. When I first read the original post I interpreted it more as challenging our own thinking patterns and even philosophy. I don’t have any particular resources for this but I thought I’d add a little on my experience.

When I was studying maths I learnt to ask questions like ‘what are the key parts of this problem, and what can I ignore?’ and ‘what are the exceptions to this statement, and can I categorise them?’.

A new way of thinking was crystallised for me was when I was watching a philosophy video and a question was posed that boils down to “who is making the rules?”. This way of thinking questions about the consequences of a system, rather than just the system itself, like “who benefits?”, “who could be disadvanged and how” and “how does this system interact with existing structures?”.

Both of these ways of thinking/asking questions are very applicable to testing, roughly lining up with the validation/verification or “did we build the thing right”/“did we build the right thing” approach.