One of the things we use on the team I am currently with is something we call Use Cases. These are documents with a list of steps to go through that check on some of the important features and workflows in the product. I was tasked with running through some of these and as I was going through one of them, I came across an interesting comment which was highlighted and in bold. It said: ‘Don’t do action X – not supported yet.’
Perhaps one of the things that make me a good tester is my aversion to doing what I’m told, but in any case, I didn’t listen. I tried to do X and to my surprise, I found that it worked. Although once I started poking around at it, I actually found that it mostly worked. It seems that at some point along the way a change was put in that allowed the software to support something we were not previously supporting and we weren’t even aware of this possibility.
This is just one little example, but as I thought about it, I realized that there are probably a lot of lessons to be learned here. I found out something entirely new about our product because I explicitly disobeyed the script. It is not every day that we are explicitly told not to do something in a script, but if you think about it, the opposite is true of every scripted type test we have: we are explicitly told what to do. I found out something new, by doing what I was told not to do, but might we not also expect to find out new things by not doing what we are told to do? The scripts that we repeat (whether manually or through automation), tell us something. They tell us what things have been checked many times, but they also tell us by implication what things might not have been looked at (as much). So here’s my challenge to you: Disobey your scripts. Find out something new!