Please leave ALL your emotions outside the door

emotional testingWe are all emotional beings, and our emotions dictate the way we act.

When we are happy we feel that the day is bright, that we can climb the stairs by jumping two of them at a time, and that everything we do will simply come out right.

When we are down we feel that even the air is heavier and harder to breath.  Some of us may also feel that regardless what we say or do nothing will come out right.

These are the days when we think to ourselves that it might be better to stay in bed with our eyes shut so that nothing will become even worst than it already is – and yes, things can always be worse than they are right now…


Your mood affects your testing

It is obvious that your mood will affect your work if you are in direct interaction with your customers.  You have experience this when shopping in a store, traveling and needing assistance from someone from the crew, or simply by calling to get some sort of phone assistance.  You can clearly discern when the person in front of you is having a good or a bad day.

This is also true when your work is done in relative isolation from your customer, as it is in the case of testing.

When you are in a somber mood you will not only work slower, but you will also be more narrow minded on the scenarios and paths you take while running your tests, and this can cause you to miss some important bugs within the app you are testing.

On the other hand when you are in an extremely good mood your testing will be more active and it will flow in more directions at one, not to mention it will be quicker and “lighter”.  This can also cause you to be more overconfident and less patient in your work, and so you may also miss important tests and bugs in the application.


Its not only about your mood but about how you feel in general

OK, so you cannot be too happy or too sad to test.  But did you know that your feelings towards people also affect your testing in additional ways?

For example, when you have a negative feeling towards one of your developers (or development teams) this will come forward in your testing.

In a positive sense you will be more thorough and cautious when you test their stuff because “you know they don’t work well” and so you will find many bugs in the features they deliver.  In a negative sense, you will be biased to report every single thing you find as a critical bug (and not as a regular or low level bug) simply because you are “sick and tired of the way these guys work” and not because of any subjective criteria.

Something similar can also happen when you test something by team you “really like”.

In this case you may find yourself investing less in your tests because “you know these guys are very careful and they surely tested all the scenarios themselves”, right…?  And when you find a bug you may also report it with a lower priority because you don’t want to put these guys on the hot-seat for delaying the release date – after all it is only a small bug (or so you want to believe).


Leaving your emotions outside the testing lab

Lab entrance testingRegardless of how you look at it, when you start testing you need to leave your emotions outside the lab.

It is not professional to change the way you look at an application depending on who wrote it, and you cannot let your mood get in the way of how you will test something on a given day.

I know this is easier said than done, I am also influenced by the way I feel.  But there are some techniques that can help you cope with this and limit the way you are affected by any unrelated factors.

The best pieces of advice I’ve got around this point is to learn to enter your “testing zone” before you embark on your work.  I wrote about this point in this post a while back.

There are also techniques around testing blindly without knowing who wrote the things you are testing right now, and even some that suggest you should only test things from other teams (although I find both these techniques a little theoretical and impractical).


The bottom line is to take this into account

I think that in the end of the day the best thing we can do is to know that our emotions will generally cause us to be biased, and with this in mind we need to examine ourselves before starting a testing task to make sure we can actively correct for these emotions by being more aware of them and not letting ourselves fall into the traps I mentioned above.


Are you emotionally biased?

I am wondering how many of you have experienced things like these.
If you have please share your story with us!

Also tell us if you have other techniques you use in order to leave your feelings outside the testing lab.


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