Uncomfortable Questions about Testing Addressed

When you are confronted with facts that clash with your inner beliefs you experience cognitive dissonance. Prepare to get uncomfortable and learn how this affects testing.

Did you ever convince yourself that you’d tested something thoroughly and you were sure that there were no horrible issues left, only to have a team member hit you with the news that: “I have tested this as well and found a terrible bug, we cannot release the software now”?

If you did, you probably didn’t find this a very pleasant experience! You were confronted with two clashing facts. One: the inner belief about yourself “I am a good tester, and I did what I could to test well”. Two: the fact that someone else still found a breaking issue.

Uncomfortable experiences like this can make you question yourself: “wasn’t my testing good enough?”, “how could I have missed this?”, “no, this can’t be true!” (while you know it is). The feeling you experience when something like this happens is cognitive dissonance.

If we apply the concept of cognitive dissonance theory to testing as a whole we are facing interesting questions that make us feel uncomfortable. Can software development be done without the involvement of testers? Is the testing role really as necessary as we think it is? Are gatherings of testers nothing more than echo chambers to put our minds at ease?

In this session, we will go to the deep end and get uncomfortable, exploring how cognitive dissonance affects our role in software development including:

What it is and how it relates to the confirmation bias

Its connection to testing

Personal examples of how it affected both of us

Are you willing to get uncomfortable with us and confront your own feelings of cognitive dissonance? You won’t be as alone as you might think.


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