SoftwareTestingClub.com ($50 USD/year paid registration) has been having a discussion on "Becoming a testing expert" in it's forum lately. A number of the comments were very insightful and interesting. I did put out a short follow-up reply out that I thought might be helpful to Creative Chaos readers:
I've heard it said that you can tell a newbie because they want to be told what to do. You bring them in to remodel your kitchen or write your software (or maybe test it), and they ask for a spec or maybe a test plan. When this is kinda vague, they get mad at you. This is a 'contractual' worldview.
A different worldview is that you are discovering the requirements together. The craftsman doesn't ask for a spec; instead, he asks a bunch of questions, and eventually makes a protoype "is this what you want?"
The first prototype is not a solution, instead, it's designed to provoke a reaction "no, but now that I see that, I know what i really want" and the game continues until the prototype is close enough to the desired functionality for work to continue.
That's how I like to approach testing - as a collaborative risk management exercise. Does that make me an expert? Not alone, and that's really for you to decide in your own mind, anyway. But what I can tell you is the people whining about the requirements are too vague, or they should have been involved up front, or they need a test plan ... well, you can probably guess what my initial response is to that kind of rhetoric.
But that's just me talking. YMMV.
This ideal lines up with my concept of the Boutique Tester in that you have the contributor taking 'the bull' of the test process by the horns and shaping a test strategy for each engagement. It is far from complete. What do you think?
Schedule and Events
March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email: Matt.Heusser@gmail.com