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    Hello all,

    After working on different projects and getting in touch with people at various software testing events, I have seen that testers are making a difference regarding the product knowledge. There are in general, let’s say, two approaches: one is based on having a good knowledge of the product that is developed and tested within the project and the testers are involved in a large number of activities including test design, execution, acceptance, automation.
    The other approach is used by the testers that do not want to have all knowledge about a single product and do not want to spend a lot of time testing only one product. Some of the testers that like the second approach are very focused on automation rather than product characteristics.

    Personally, I have experienced the both ways. I have tested for a long time a product and I have gained a high level of acknowledge about it (characteristics, architecture, workflows, performance etc.) being involved in various test activities design, automation and execution as well as support for development team. After that, I have worked on several projects and tested different products by only creating and executing automated tests or running manual regression tests with a having a basic knowledge regarding the product.

    What do you think about this topic ? What approach do you use about product knowledge ?




    Product knowledge is extremely important for testers. By Product knowledge, I mean all things related to products such as:
    *Who is the user?
    *How users are expected to use product
    *How product is expected or not expected to use
    *How the same product is doing on the market

    Those knowledges can be achieve by exercising, asking and learning the product and it takes time. The earlier you know product, the better you are.

    I’m also not clear why automation approach can help learning product knowledge. Most of automation practice is to repeat what manual test has performed. It means that there’s little to no new things discovered in automation test.




    I agree with you. Thank you for your feedback !



    Product knowledge is more important for testers. A tester can have good automation skills but this would benefit the tester only if has good expertise with the product. So he can generate scripts with better test coverage and it would even help him in designing the automation framework based on the business flows within the application.. Otherwise some one has to guide him in determining the test scenarios.


    Only one remark from my side, tester-device for measuring 😉 And all other aspects is important depends of type of testing. Automation tests a part of regression test and can be done only with good knowledge of product.


    Well, it depends on the purpose of the test.
    If I am deep into white box testing in development product knowledge – especially technical knowledge – is very important.
    But in that case knowledge of the development tools, programming language and framework is equally important.
    I can automate at this level.

    If I am evaluating a product for the end user / client this kind of knowledge is less important, but knowledge about the future use of the product is very important.
    I can also automate at this level – most of the time using different tools.

    If I am performing exploratory testing no specific knowledge is needed.
    This is pure manual testing.

    So, in my opinion there is not one correct answer. You adapt to your environment and the job at hand.



    @manoj, @Aleksandr and @kasper
    Thank you for your feedback !
    As mentioned above, there is not an unique answer to the question but it is very good to put together as many ideas as possible based on our experience regarding the product knowledge and its importance on all types and levels of testing.



    I’m not a tester myself anymore, but the manager of a centralised testing service in a global company where we offer various testing services offered by external suppliers, mainly out of India.

    In our set-up in-depth product or process knowledge is not a firm requirement when we deliver test services to IT projects. But that said we usually aim at staffing the test team with 1 or 2 testers with knowledge/experience of the product under test or the related business processes. However this may not always an option, e.g. the product may be bespoke code or a new technology.. In such cases we staff the test team solely with testers and then get the line of business/product vendor to supply access to relevant SMEs. As a rule thumb we will staff with 1 SME per 4 testers.

    Our experience shows that the project success is not dependent on having testers with product/project knowledge, more important is having highly skilled testers working closely with product/process SMEs.

    Regarding test automation – I do not believe that this can replace a SME in a test team, it can be a supplement during the testing phases but cannot fully replace the manual testing.


    The other approach is used by the testers that do not want to have all knowledge about a single product and do not want to spend a lot of time testing only one product. Some of the testers that like the second approach are very focused on automation rather than product characteristics.

    The difference between approaches I would rather express as working deeply with one product/solution/company – comparing to working very different products and solutions. IT’s a spectrum ranging from working your whole worklife on one solution (I know people who have) to work as a freelance consultant on 3 months contracts (or less looking at Utest, and Testers-as-a-service).

    Testing using automated tools is whole different angle – I know people who work with a single product focusing heavy on automation.

    Yet as Pernille writes, testers with no detailed product knowledge needs to learn fast and work with SME’s to test.


    I think managing Security Testing in Agile Software Development is highly important for tester purpose.

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