Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Don’t Just Say…

Advice for my software testers, though it applies in many other parts of life as well:

Don’t just say “this doesn’t work.”

Use something like “This is what I did, this is what I expected, this is what I saw instead, here are the things I’ve tried, and this is what I think is wrong.”

Optimally, follow with “and here’s how I think it can be fixed.”

It’s important to Learn Why Things Work.


  1. Well said. People just find reasons to stop working. Finding an alternative is like an “effort’ for them.

  2. Don’t forget to have them tell you what they expected to happen. The ability to file a proper bug report with repro steps seems like a hard pre-requisite to even becoming a tester.

    Describe what you expected to happen first, then describe what did happen, then describe exactly what you did (and what conditions you did it under–this includes things like software versions, loaded apps, that kind of thing), and then, optionally, describe what you think you might be able to do to fix it.

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