Top 10 Non Testing skills you never knew you needed!

There is a good amount of discussion on testing skills out there. But what about non testing skills for testers? In 2008, when Mukesh (Zen Test Labs’ CTO) and I had to choose a topic for what we shall present at the STARWEST Conference in the United States, we decided to do a talk on the “Top Ten Non Testing Skills” for testers.
Using our experience with training testers and building a testing company, we got our heads together on what in our opinion are the “Top Ten Non Testing Skills” that testers will find useful. We came up with a laundry list of skills. From that list we deleted any generic skill that any professional ought to have including learning skills, communication and presentation skills, leadership skills, initiative. planning & organizing skills, time control, self confidence, interpersonal skills, self control and even focus on quality. After all our focus was on non testing skills that impact testing!
The list and the premise for why we listed this as important for testers is given below:
1. Collaboration: Good testers not just communicate well, they actively collaborate with everyone from developers to project managers to business analysts.
2. Creativity: Good testers have the ability to think up of test cases that nobody else can think about. They practice lateral thinking in test case design and exploratory testing.
3. Experimentation: Good testers do common things uncommonly and keep experimenting with newer methods, strategies and tools.
4. Passion: Good testers are highly motivated and they never give up. They ask empowering and uplifting questions to themselves and others.
5. Alertness: Good testers have an eye for detail. They use every defect to unearth more defects.
6. Connecting the dots: Good testers have the ability to connect the dots. They understand the requirements, the big picture as well as the details required in the current phase of the project.
7. Introspection: Good testers are honest thinkers. They hold up a mirror to themselves and others.
8. Challenging: Good testers challenge the status quo. They challenge assumptions. They practice critical thinking and challenge claims or bias laden statements.
9. Prioritization: Good testers prioritize their tests, their metrics and their strategies. They have a virtual effort impact matrix going on in their hands constantly.
10. Not carrying testing home: Great testers stop being testers at home. They remind themselves to tune off from work when at home and can enjoy the colors of life, not just the defects!

So, that was the list of non testing skills useful for testers in our opinion. Anything else, you can think of?

Krishna Iyer | CEO | Zen Test Labs

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One thought on “Top 10 Non Testing skills you never knew you needed!

  1. I feel
    1. Good testers will have the attitude like learn and test, than saying I am an expert on some “X” domain. Good testers will have the idea on how to approach testing, by not saying that I don’t have some “X” domain knowledge.

    2. Good testers will learn how to solve the business problems by reviewing the requirements and going beyond it if needed and make customers happy.

    3. Good testers will learn about the user interest on that product before learning about the product that he/she going to test.

    4. Good testers remain as a good testers when he/she knows on what test to approach based on the needs/ time constraint, thus providing the solution on reputed time.

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