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The Benefit of "Intern Fresh" Eyes (TESTHEAD)

On February 20, 2013, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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It’s interesting when a story or set of stories comes together as a big mass, and just by their very nature, they are manually intensive. Just by the virtue of their design, they defy automation, they defy fast checking, they require the physical patience and calmness needed to work through them, one at a time, for a long as it takes. I’m living that dream right now (for some definition of dream 😉 ).

Seriously, we have a lot of stories that just fit a similar theme, and to help get through them, I’ve been assigned my very own intern for the next several days. Nice! He’s a good guy, and I’m happy to get some extra help for a bit. Today, we set things up and we worked as a pair for much of the morning. As I explained the rules of the road for the testing we need to do (this is accessibility stuff, so it depends a lot on hearing speech from screen readers and talking into microphones for dictation), it was interesting to see how he interacted with the product, what steps he took, what frustrated him, etc.

What I love about “fresh eyes” is the fact that, often, they do not have any paradigm to hang things off of. In testing, they don’t know the rules of the road at all, and that’s great. It lets me see how someone would approach a problem without even realizing the problems that are already there. As I am going through and trying to determine what aspects of testing to teach for SummerQAmp, these opportunities are great, because I can often see very different approaches being taken, some very much out of the realm of what I would do because I’m both experienced and, let’s face it, a little jaded.

As we were working through some of the challenges, I found it interesting to see why he would go in certain directions, what interested him. What he would do to try to make things work if at first they didn’t (which, with a tool like Dragon, is really easy to do).

A few years ago I wrote a post about Pairing with An Expert to help open your eyes to those areas you might not be aware of. Just as powerful is the opportunity to pair with a domain neophyte, since their “ignorance” is a valuable tool… they don’t know the rules, so they can much more easily break them, and teach us something new along the way.

 

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