The Value of Experimentation in Testing

(This content originally appeared on TechWell Insights)

Whether it’s in your software testing and development, exercise routine, golf swing, or even just your daily life, it’s easy to keep doing exactly what you’re doing and hope for the same results. However, in a world where the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are quickly becoming concepts that testers have to deal with from day to day, it can be even riskier to stand pat than experiment and try something new.

With new concepts, platforms, methodologies, and devices being introduced at a rapid rate, it’s critical to both initiate and establish a culture of experimentation within your testing team. Sure, your testers might prefer the known ways to the unknown, but you need to experiment and take risks in order to keep pace and hopefully surpass the competition.

Speaking in a recent interview with StickyMinds, Alan Crouch, the director of mobile testing at Coveros, explained why experimentation is an absolute must when it comes to software testing.

“We have to try new things and check out new technologies and not be afraid to take a risk. It’s the only way to really compete in the mobile marketplace because there are more competitors and there’s new things coming up all the time,” Crouch said. “I tend to think with our traditional idea of a silo tester, many of them are more resistant to change and slower to adapt than their development counterparts, say a developer. I’d say for those folks, it’s a difficult uphill climb because change is hard, especially grand cultural change is a lot harder.”

If you’re a modern testing team that adheres to agile or uses DevOps practices, you’ve likely already dipped your toe in the experimentation waters. You’ve taken chances on new ideas that you believe could help the efficiency of your team, and you need to push that mindset even further as the industry continues to change.

But is there such a thing as over-experimentation? Where you try too many new things and accidentally stunt growth and interrupt the flow of your team?

“There’s always that fear. Right?” Crouch continued. “We always are playing around and we never actually do anything. There is a fine balance between how much experimentation I should accept and how much I shouldn’t.”

You shouldn’t institute every new technology, tool, or concept if it worked well for a different team. You need to do your research and understand where the benefits lie, but don’t be afraid to establish a culture of experimentation in order to evolve in the software industry.