My goals evolve…

These days I am dividing my time between two projects: testing for the CX2 translation tool and testing for VE, the visual editor. At the beginning of the internship I was working only on CX2, and one of my main goals was to create a set of test cases for it. It was a terrific project for a noob like me, because it helped me to learn the product – you have to understand how something works (and a fair amount about how it can FAIL to work) before you can turn around and write test cases for it! Also, the end result (120 test cases that together exercise every part of the UI) will be a very helpful tool for anyone else who wants to learn the product. It’s pretty much a guided tour.

But the more familiar I grew with the product, the more constraining the test cases felt. I mean, picture having to follow a set of detailed instructions for tying your shoe – something you automatically do without  thinking, because you’ve done it so often before. It would make you a little crazy, right? I had a sneaking suspicion that the test cases I’d poured so much energy into were not going to be much use to the people who’d been testing the product for weeks, months, and years.

Then I started my new project – testing the visual editor. VE is such a sprawling product, with so many dialogs and widgets within it, that I wouldn’t be able to write a complete set of test cases for it by the end of the internship even if I wanted to. Luckily, that’s not on my “to do” list. (I think my mentors wanted me to learn to do test cases but not spend ALL my time on it – that wouldn’t leave much time for exploratory testing, which is the main focus of the internship.) My mentor for VE suggested that, at the very most, I create a “checklist” to guide my testing. I began one and immediately saw what a lightweight and flexible tool it could be – especially for a tester who already knows the product. The detailed, 22-step instructions for tying your shoe are replaced with a single, handy reminder: “Tie your shoe.” (Even old hands can use the occasional reminder!)

As soon as I finish my VE checklist, I’m going to go back and make a couple for CX, because it’s my new-and-improved goal to leave behind some tools that are truly useful – not just to new testers (as the test cases will be) but to those who have been around a while longer as well.

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