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Stress and the Test Analyst's Brain

Published: 2015-10-30
By Celia Gaylard

Test Analysts are scientists by nature, in general they have a great understanding of the world they live in, the planet they happen to be occupying and the ‘multiverses’ out there that inhabit the cosmos. Test Analysts have the somewhat unique ability to think, think and think some more, and an innate ability to analyse anything and everything. These skills enable them to solve both simple and complex problems and as a result they find that the experience of testing gives them an amazing platform in which they may experiment with their thoughts, ideas and ideals.

It is these same attributes that sometimes interfere with Test Analysts ability to interact with their colleagues. They simply cannot comprehend that not everyone shares these same abilities. It is for this very reason that they often do not understand why friends/colleagues approach them for their wisdom. To be honest they often do not expect people to want to be in contact with them and they are simply dumbfounded when approached for conversation and sharing of information. The sad truth is that most Test Analysts are not great communicators… answers that are clear in their minds somehow get lost in translation when they attempt to articulate them. The result: blank stares and blinking eyes from friends/colleagues who are now left feeling more confused then before they asked their question. The level of miscommunication is hilarious at times and just adds to the fun and intrigue of being a misunderstood Test Analyst.

Seriously though, Test Analysts rely heavily on their brain, mind, thoughts and intelligence and will do anything, within reason, to keep all of these treasured aspects nurtured, calm and stress free, it is how they survive. If any one of these aspects misfires or malfunctions, the Test Analyst goes into STRESS mode - What does this mean? Well the normally easy going Test Analyst is now functioning on only half of their brain... the possible result: yelling, screaming and insults! Most definitely NOT a desirable outcome…

So what red flags should you watch out for when interacting with Test Analysts? Here are a few tips that I suggest you take note of especially if you want to be friends with a Test Analyst:

Stress Factor 1:

In most cases the core of a Test Analyst is a person who needs to retain every possible bit of energy that they can in order to not ever experience stress. Sadly the world around Test Analysts loves to take that energy and use it for its own endeavour without consideration for the Test Analyst.

Stress Factor 2:

Test Analysts are task driven and they do not trust that the task at hand can be completed successfully by anyone other then themselves. The Test Analyst, loving a quiet, stress free space, simply prefers not to share the task with anyone else.  

Stress Factor 3:

Test Analysts are also energy sensitive beings. People are energy; hyper people in particular are too much energy and drive the Test Analyst batty.

Stress Factor 4:

Asking a Test Analyst a question that they think you should already know the answer to is a big no-no. The Test Analyst will look at you as if you are slightly mad and may walk on without providing you with a response. Let’s be honest… It serves you right!

Stress Factor 5:

Asking a Test Analyst to describe how they feel is another big no-no because Test Analysts will take the question seriously. They will take time to think about how they feel, then they will come back to you with an in depth answer, describing in great detail what they are feeling. Because you made the mistake of asking them in the first place, Test Analysts will expect you to listen to their waffle because they took the time (sometimes up to a month) to research the answer.

Stress Factor 6:

Avoid starting random conversations with a Test Analyst for no apparent reason. The responses will be varied, sometimes unpleasant, but nonetheless varied. We warned you!

So now that you understand how best to befriend your Test Analyst colleague, perhaps you could send them a meeting request to discuss the Dilbert System or debate which is the ultimate gaming console – however, if you need to understand your Test Analyst colleague a little better, perhaps you should join our upcoming introductory testing short course: Fundamentals of Software Quality Assurance to understand just how Test Analyst thinks.

Customers and business needs result in frequent demands for software changes. Rigorous software testing contributes significantly to the value these business systems can deliver.

Experience tells us that most of the testing effort and activity typically happens only during the late stages of a project. Lessons learnt tell us that testing earlier and throughout any project will add enormous value to the use and usability of a business system. Incorporating the most effective testing activities and thinking skills at appropriate times in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) helps to uncover issues that may otherwise be overlooked. Managing these issues in each stage of the lifecycle can save unnecessary costs, time and effort and contribute to overall project value.

This course focuses on the very necessary steps of testing at all stages of the software development cycle. This ensures that delegates appreciate the importance of testing throughout the SDLC and what this involves.


 About Celia…

Celia’s career in testing software began in 1996 when she was asked to join a Data Conversion project. She has since enjoyed many great software testing experiences across all the organisations she has worked with and has thoroughly enjoyed the journey of self discovery as a Test Analyst (TA).

By her own admission there is never a dull moment when testing software and when those rare doldrums have occurred she has found new and exciting things to learn in order to improve herself as a TA. Throughout her career Celia has learnt to understand SQL, MS Excel, MS Access (makes one work faster and smarter), Visual Basic (what an eye opener into a Developer's world) , C, C# and Delphi. Celia has promised to never want to stop discovering fast and smart ways to think and work.

In addition, Celia loves to share her knowledge and used to complete ad hoc in-house training until realising that education was one of her passions. Starting her one woman enterprise called Turquoise Training, she has gained invaluable experience about running a business.

As she progressed on her journey of self discovery, training moved from being a technical aspect to being more people focused and this was when she joined FTI. Celia is FTI’s Testing Portfolio Manager. She also lectures in the Business Analysis and Software Testing spaces.



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