SMART & FOCUS testing

The last session of the 1st day was held by Joel Montvelisky, PractiTest Chief Solution Architect and the OnlineTestConf chair.

SMART & FOCUS testing

(by Joel Montvelisky)

Does your organization correctly value your work as a tester? 95% of testers believe that they are not!

When you ask yourselves why, you should probably think first about how you and your organization perceive the value of testing team.   Once you see the difference there you will start to understand.

So how do WE (the testers) perceive the value of our work?  It’s simple; we see it as finding important product issues OR verifying features OR providing feedback on the product etc. All of which you were hired to do!

But, how do OTHERS perceive the value of our work? They see it as reporting annoying bugs OR wasting time on unnecessary things Or criticizing the project that everyone already agreed on etc.


Well, sometimes they are wrong BUT there are also times when they are right. This is why  we need to:

  • Provide the right value that our teams are looking for.

Ask yourselves – What is the value your testing can provide to the organization?

You should understand the basic definition of testing which is in short:

To bring information about the product to help the organization make the right decisions.

Just like doctors get all health information about the patient they are about to operate or like gathering intelligence before going out on a military mission

The challenges:   

  1. Many people need your information, each for different things. So we need to start thinking about working with people and the different information they need  and not thinking about working with a small number of test cases.
  2. The needs of these people will change all the time.
  3. Introduce yourself to the people you can help with your work. Some of them don’t even know that you can help them.
  4. Those people usually need your information quickly and clearly.


How can you handle the challenges?

  1. Map all the people in your project. Understand who they are, their job.
  2. What are their needs and when they need it.
  3. Base on the needs you have identified, make a deliverable schedules for this information based on project milestone and strategic meetings.
  4. Then you can plan you tests and think about other actions you need to take in order to provide the information.
  5. Review this at least once every 2 weeks to develop and change your plan. Have a coherently schedule for that.
  6. Understand the kind of format you need to provide. Is it a high level document or colorful graph and dashboard? You need to be creative about the way you present your information.

    Think outside the box!

    Here are some examples of alternative information services:


  • Effectively “sell” the value we bring to the project.

Are you the guy who grabs the megaphone and starts shouting at everyone? OR are you the guy who gets everyone’s attention and then start talking? It’s not about how loud you say what you want to say, It’s about how you say it. Work on your FORM and not only on your CONTENT.


S.M.A.R.T – How you present your information:

Simple – Graphs over words / one-liner over Paragraph.

Measurable – Numbers and static over feelings and descriptions.

Actionable – Suggest solutions and not only point at flow.

Repeatable – Show the same information over versions and products.

Timely – Provide information when it is still relevant.

F.O.C.U.S – How you provide your service:

Fast – Be quick to answer questions.

Objective – Provide good and bad news equally.

Condensed – One liner and charts.

User-Centered – Think of the needs of the person reading the report.

Service – The costumer is always right.


Last sentence – If you’re gonna take one thing out of this session, then take this:   Testing is a service, and you are the service provider!

Understand how the client of your service is and remember to serve their needs, NOT YOURS!


Joel is the Chief Solution Architect at PractiTest, where he works with thousands of testers worldwide, helping them generate more value out of their testing tasks.  He is also the program chair of the OnlineTestConf, as well as one of the co-founders of the State of Testing Survey and Report.  He has more than 20 years of testing experience as a tester, test manager and architect. He is also writes the QA intelligence blog and speaks at international testing conferences.

Read more about software testing methodologies

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