How important is Business Domain Knowledge for Testers?

Isn’t it essential to understand the business perspective of the product you are testing? Isn’t it true that business domain knowledge is important for Testers to skill up on and is unfortunately overlooked? The answer is yes — the quality of Testing improves if Testers understand the business usage perspective of the product they are testing. This article explains why it is essential to understand the business perspective and how you can tread your path to being a successful Tester.

The following skills are required to be a successful Tester –

· Testing Skills — to be knowledgeable about efficient Test strategies, Test optimisation, and more.

· Technical Skills — to be knowledgeable about the several tools that can help manage, plan, design, execute Tests.

It also includes Automation Testing skills. While working on Automation testing, it helps to learn about the several modern Automation testing tools. If you know programming languages like Java, Python, PHP, etc., it is an added plus.

· Business Domain Skills — It really helps to go the extra mile to make an effort to apply the business domain knowledge while you plan, design, and execute tests. This aids you in prioritising tests for the test suite as well.

Let us discover how you can ramp up on the Business domain skill!

To build general business domain skills, you could start by reading research papers and tutorials on the internet to learn about the industry. Also, keep in touch with the latest happenings in the field.

Further, you could participate in industry domain-specific conferences. These are great platforms that help you network with domain experts.

Also, reading business publications, articles, news items, webcasts, and the industry will help improve your “business” vocabulary and conceptual knowledge.

The Tester will need to understand how the business user uses the product. Also, they can research the product and similar competing products.

Apart from that, the Test team can build their “general” knowledge on the business domain.

Of course, the Business analyst in the team would convey the direct communications of requirements from the Customer. However, making a personal effort to learning about how the product is being used will open up more ideas on building efficient, high coverage, well-prioritised test suites.

For example, if your team requires to test the customer’s e-banking application. In this case, you could check out their e-banking web application over the internet. Also, you could check for the banking packages offered, the differences between the packages. This will help you plan for more useful test scenarios. Furthermore, you can research how the product users are using it, common issues faced, high priority user, flows.

As a result, you will end up with a well-planned and highly optimised test suite.

This exercise helps Testers understand why the product is critical to the Customer and how it helps strengthen their Business.

For this, you could check out their website to understand where they stand, what their main goals are.

Additionally, you could start following the company’s blog posts, Twitter posts, LinkedIn posts, join their community.

While doing so, you get quick sync towards the company’s focus areas — according to which your test team can enhance the test cases and prioritise specific user flows.

Also, it helps to work on understanding the Customer’s core principles in the product web pages. To do so, you could browse the customer website’s “Who we are” and the“About Us” pages to understand what mission they represent, their goals, and business priorities.

After building business domain knowledge of the product being tested, of course, the tests created will be highly efficient.

The result — a well-tested product, and hence a happy customer.

However, how do you personally benefit from this exercise of updating your knowledge?

Well, the answer is — by working on building business domain skills, you as a tester get to add a domain knowledge skillset to your profile. This is a highly sought out skill set in the IT industry.

Business domain knowledge can help pull you up the ladder of your Testing career. Not only that, in the future, if you plan to pursue a career in Business Analysis, you could rely on this knowledge as well.

In your learning journey, while you build your knowledge about the Business involved with the product, you may face some challenges. The challenge would be to take the set of ‘Unknown’ facts, bring it down to ‘Known’ ‘Unknown’ facts, then to ‘Known’ ‘Known’ facts.

With this, it will be tough initially. However, with a clear plan, the thin line between the different points will fade off. The result will be eventually a strong business domain knowledge that you will be proud about one day.

This perspective and approach help Testers get the right coverage of test cases. The result is a 360 degrees coverage test suite keeping Business, criticality, and risks in mind.

A product that is tested in this approach is sure to get the Customer satisfied.

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Gathering the proper requirements and facts is imperative. They have to be collected, keeping the business stakeholders in mind. Keep in close touch with the Business Analysts of your team.

A key to capturing the business domain knowledge is to keep asking ‘why’ to yourself as a Tester to any of the customers’ requirements. And, hence, do research, interact with customers regarding the Business if you cannot answer the questions yourself.

Recognising ‘Implicit’ and ‘Explicit’ requirements would be something that needs to be kept in mind always.

Following the approach of building business domain knowledge is rewarding in every aspect — for the customer and you, as a Tester.

As a result of building business domain knowledge, you as a Tester will start “speaking the customer’s language,” making the Customer feel happy that you are taking an extra effort to connect with them.

The Tester must continuously and regularly update him/herself in the pursuit of keep building the Business Domain knowledge.

From the knowledge you gathered, do not just apply what you learned but also amplify the innovative mindset as you build tests for the product.

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A tester with an approach of knowing the importance of business knowledge always ends up ‘Thinking beyond the Box’ while working with real insights from the world.

Hence, do take time to understand the business users, the stakeholder’s perspective of the product under test. As a result, You sure are going to gain the upper hand in the world of Testers.

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About the Author

Najwa

Najwa Riyaz has 15 years of IT experience, primarily in the area of Test Automation
Find out more about @najwar

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