Two things to become a better bug hunter.

It’s almost painful to see how some testers doubt themselves. Two in every ten to be more precise.

I’ve given workshops to several hundred testers this year alone. For some reason, those two-out-of-tens find no bugs in the first 20-minute testing session. And it usually is a session on an extremely buggy application explicitly chosen for finding bugs.

Photo by Samuel Myles on Unsplash

I’ve come to think that there are two core problems to this.

  • Their creative process of producing new ideas to test does not flow freely.
  • Their senses are not sharp at spotting strange behaviour.

In other words, they don’t see the bugs even though bugs scream in their faces ”Notice me! Notice me!” and the essential tool of creative thinking is rusted.

It’s not that they didn’t see all the strange things happening on the screen like everyone else. But my two-out-of-tens all dismissed the behaviors without investigating.

So what could we do about it then?

There are two simple skills that we go through in every workshop to start the engine of true testing. I have no idea why these work, but they do, and it’s enough for me.

  1. Learn to take notes with a pen an paper. Just journal the things we tried and noticed. This conditions the mind-body-connection into action in situations when something seems off. It’s the first step towards finding better bugs.
  2. Learn to ask more questions. Stop on a regular basis and scribble down 5–10 stupid questions. And notice the keyword here: stupid. It’s there because quantity is way more important than the quality. Creative flow of testing ideas follows the questions we learn to voice and the more we make, the better we get.

Consistent conditioning of the important basics is the way to greatness in everything we do be it sports, games, hobbies or professional skills.