Encouraging Just-In-Time Testing

man stopping clock hand

Just-In-Time (JIT) Testing is not a new idea—SQE Training offers a training course about the topic, and other organizations have hosted tutorials about it for several years now. So, what makes it even more interesting today?

I was recently asked by a prospective client if we offer just-in-time testing services. Whether we officially call it that or not, we have been doing just-in-time testing for the last few years simply by the nature of the work we handle. We do a lot of content QA in the educational and publishing space, and because work keeps coming on an off, having the same people completing the testing work really helps. So, we follow a priority-based tester allocation method to accommodate the testing requirements as they come in, which is also just-in-time in a sense.

Testers should be encouraged to think along the lines of JIT testing—the spontaneity, creativity, and ability to think from a diverse set of angles are useful attributes for testers. We once did a study on the use of color caps, based on Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono, to promote the six thinking caps in software testing. The study gave us some very promising results, and we encourage our testers to consider this model at all times, especially when taking on exploratory testing.

In today’s world, where the development landscape is extremely dynamic, a testing effort that is adaptable and flexible with an ability to learn the system and craft scenarios on the go is increasingly important. This does not undermine the value of scripted testing—scripted testing has its own benefits.

Given the value of exploratory testing, testers should be encouraged to be just-in-time testers with the ability to test anything given to them at any time. The ability to look at the broad landscape of time on hand, scope to test, what the end user expectations are, and designing a test strategy on the fly are all essential in JIT testing.

While this may sound straightforward, implementing it especially in large teams is anything but easy, as the tester base is often huge with each of them bringing their own skills to the table. Not everyone may think as creatively as others, and for JIT testing, getting testers to a similar range of thought process really helps.

To that extent, JIT testing is initially more of a mindset change—a change where testers know what is expected of them and what constraints they operate within. Furthermore, when they appreciate the value of JIT testing and start applying practices such as six thinking caps, the creativity that flows is unstoppable—try it if you haven’t already.

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