Founder and CEO of Satisfice
James Bach is an author (Lessons Learned in Software Testing) and a long time teacher and consultant in the testing world. He is one of the founders of the Context-Driven School of Testing, a founding member of the Association for Software Testing, and the creator of Session-Based Test Management and Rapid Software Testing methodology.
Presentation: Context-Switching for Testers
To find elusive and subtle bugs requires keen observation and sensemaking. To evaluate the completeness and adequacy of testing requires careful reflection on your process. That, in turn, requires concentration and mental organization. Yet, it’s common for testers to be pulled disruptively from project to project. How can you switch contexts, as a tester, without losing productivity?
Our answer is: you can’t.
But there are some things you can do.
First you need to get people more aware of why context switching is hard, and why “just document everything” and “just read all the documentation” is no panacea. You must help product teams to appreciate how human minds work; the importance (and inescapability) of mental inertia; and how we learn, remember, forget, and re-learn.