Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How to Ask For Help with Software Testing/Quality Assurance Questions

Back in October 2008, I answered the question "What's the Best Software Testing/QA Tool". In my answer, I included a few steps for ensuring you get an answer when asking questions.

Due to popular demand, I'm moving those comments into their own blog entry. This way, it's easier to find and read.

To ensure you get an answer:
  1. To all testers: look before you ask. Really! If you are wondering what tool you can use for a given test type, use Live Search and look for information! Performing a minimal amount of research shows respect to the audience you're turning to for help, and can actually prevent a question now and again. QA is all about searching for product defects; apply that searching capability to answering your questions.
  2. You're more likely to get help on a specific question rather than a broad question. For instance, asking "What's the right tool" won't get you much. However "I've evaluated Selenium, Selenium RC, and Watij--given my situation (describe it) what tool do you recommend?"
  3. Talk about the problem you're trying to solve. So "We realized we'll be running tests over and over and over again, but our UI changes frequently. What strategies can we take...?" is a question that raises the problem and let's people know what help you're looking for.
  4. Asking "what's the best tool?" is like asking "What's the best car?". If you live in Germany and drive the autobahn frequently, the best car for you is far different from the best car for someone who lives in Bombay, battles thick traffic, and drives Indian roads (notoriously rough). Be specific, give details, and look for recommendations. Software testing tools are the same way - a screaming "BMW" test tool will fall apart on a Bombay road. A right-hand drive Jaguar would be totally out of place on an American highway. A performance test tool isn't the right way to automate repeated quality assurance tests. The right tool is dependent on the project, the skill sets on the QA team, the timeline, and several other factors.
  5. Solve your own problems. The Internet is an incredible tool and offers us all a ton of opportunity to not have to reinvent the wheel. But don't ask other people to do your work for you! Ask for advice. If you want someone to solve your problem, ask one of us to consult (for pay) and bring us in. We'll be glad to get the job done for you!
  6. Give back: as you grow and learn, give back... Don't post a question, get your answer, and disappear. Remain an active participant in the community and 'pay it forward'.

Summary? Be specific, research before you ask, solve problems, and give back. That's how to get answers online--in a sustainable fashion.

3 comments:

  1. Useful guide - get quite a few of these questions on the Software Testing Club so I might borrow some of these pointers or stick a link to here

    ReplyDelete
  2. Testing of hardware and software is essential for proper functioning of systems. If you have a testing team, then you can perform in-house tests, but if not, then look out for a reliable testing company. I also searched a lot for professional testers, and finally gave the work to Teligy (http://www.teligy.com). The experts used best tools and applications to give accurate results to me. I am really happy with the work, as no other problem has occurred after the process.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
    Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

    ReplyDelete