Testers in a Start up World – How do we deal with uncertainties?

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    Amy Phillips spoke on this at eurostar!

    What do you think are the key qualities a tester needs for a start up?

    My main takeaway was this:
    Testing to provide information on a product is hard as in the start up world testing provides information on an undefined product that is looking to solve and undefined problem for an undefined person that may change tomorrow.

    How do we deal with facing such uncertainties?

    Amy proposes a need to be able to adapt and change and align your testing with the team’s goal and remove waste in your testing process.

    Have you faced these challenges before?

    Are these challenges only applicable to start ups?

    Ronan Healy

    @punkmik It’s a fascinating discussion. I learnt a lot about this area last week at the EuroSTAR Conference. I was reminded of how start-ups who aim is to move fast and innovate might not appreciate the clearly essential role of a software tester in their team.

    Facebook have a slogan in their Dublin office just opposite where the Conference took place which is “Move fast and break things”. I wonder how the tester’s role would fit into this?


    Deal with uncertainties with testing reminds me “Thinking out of the box” .

    With Agile / XP environment many companies have less resource on testing, if a new feature introduced with application or new technology introduced with testing, tester needs to think about the “out of the box” mean it’s a dealing situation with uncertainties.

    Uncertainties management skill comes with more and more testing experience.


    Thanks for kicking off the conversation, Kim. This is certainly a topic I’ve become really interested in, not just because of my own experiences but from conversations with others. We’re conditioned to want certainty but I’m not convinced it’s always a good thing to have so much set in stone. Learning to accept uncertainty really does change life.

    , I find Facebook’s slogan really intriguing. I think having something like this can remove the paralysis that often exists in teams aiming for perfection. But I would love to know how Facebook integrates testing into their process. I know they do hire testers and I know they take automated tests seriously so I’m pretty sure they don’t actually aim to break all the things regardless of their slogan. I wonder how Facebook’s move fast approach compares to LinkedIn’s? I personally find LinkedIn to be a far more buggy product and I wonder if that comes from moving fast or from poor development practices?

    , Good point. Do you think that Agile companies believe they require less testing or is it a chronic shortage for some reason? I wonder if it also exists in companies that have recently transitioned to Agile approaches and therefore presumably still have large test teams?

    Something that I forgot to mention in my presentation is a book I was recommended by Anna Baik – Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm”.
    Anna also posted an excellent answer on Quora that covers much of this topic – http://www.quora.com/If-youre-new-to-Agile-how-do-you-market-your-past-skills-experience-into-an-Agile-Scrum-related-role



    I am working in very small team of 3 people and testing complex product with minimal supervision that work on Win OS, IOS & Android. In our team we are working in more responsible way to bring a high quality product to end customers. I do both automation and manual testing in mixed environment of agile & devops and always think out of the box and with test cases.

    All companies test their product in different way according to requirements.
    In my view good practice is – @ 1st level – Developer need to write more unit test @ 2 nd level testers need to write a regression & functional tests automation and give same time manual testing. In both level acceptance criteria must be predefined.

    Ronan Healy

    @amyp That’s an interesting thought. I wonder how different their approaches are. I read an article from a former Facebook employee a few weeks ago (this is it here). It’s a bit old but like you said, it seems Facebook does loads of automated testing but that major clients of the company basically have to do some of the QA themselves as they need a sound platform. It’s a interesting thought for start-ups…where is the tipping point between the building and innovation for a product and the need for high-quality software.

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