Definition of Start (with Testing)

Sometime ago, I had a discussion with a tester about what he needed to start with testing. He answered: “I need requirements”. I asked him: “What if there are no requirements?” He answered: “Then I cannot start with testing. I need to have a test base.”
Okay, he passed the ISTQB exam, but not in my context.

What is a test base?
A set of requirements that describes the behavior of the product which you need in order to start the test analysis.

I challenge that. I say that a test base can be a collection of pieces of information about the product.

The key word is : Information.

Information can be a set of documents, but it also can be a statement given by a certain person, an oracle, or just an user interface of an application.

Some statements of the gurus
James Bach : “Testing is questioning a product in order to evaluate it”
Jerry Weinberg : “Testing is gathering information with the intention of informing a decision”
W.E. Deming : “You’ll never get to learn about a system, what it can do, and how to improve it unless you ‘Let It Run’”

What have these statements have in common? They don´t mention requirements.

Therefore I come up with a definition of start with testing:
Define your mission (i.e. test assignment). Try to collect all kinds of information as much as possible that contributes to your mission. Use your `trained´ brain to process this information and continue to collect more information that will eventually bring you the answers and completes your mission (and perhaps starts a new mission)

Tip : read the blog “Testing Problems Are Test Results” by Michael Bolton. Some useful thoughts that can be used.

To close the following statement made by my DEWT buddy Michel Kraaij:
“There are many ways to gain insight in requirements. Why keep adding more and more time to complete a list?! ” Just start with it.

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