The Psychology of Software #Testing
The Psychology of Software #Testing
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The Psychology of Software #Testing

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Last updated on 2016-02-02

About the Book

This book is not a book to teach you how to do software testing nor will it make you into a 'expert' on psychology. It takes two of my passions, psychology and software testing, and brings them together. It will use examples that you can take away and use in your daily life, not just your testing profession.

This book is not just for testers it is for anyone involved in software development such as managers, programmers, customer ops and users.

About the Author

John Stevenson
John Stevenson

“The opinions expressed in any book are my own views and not those of any company I have or do work for"

Having been involved in testing for over 20 years and within the IT industry for more than 24 years it still surprises me how exciting it is and how much more there is still to learn.

As part of my self learning I keep involved within the testing community and write a testing blog ( and can be found regularly tweeting (@steveo1967) about software testing.

I am keen to see what can be of benefit to software testing from outside the traditional channels and  explore different domains such as anthropology,  social science, psychology, ethnographic research, design thinking, cognitive science and examine possibilities of links to software testing. 

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
    • Why This Book
  • Chapter 1: Software Testing Biases
    • DANGER - Confirmation Bias
    • Cognitive dissonance
    • What you believe might not be true
    • Cognitive Illusions (or how your mind plays tricks on you)
    • Patterns from Nothing
    • Randomness
    • Great Expectations
  • Chapter 2: Emotional Roller-coaster
    • The Emotional Tester
    • Recording our Emotional State
    • Addicted to Testing
    • Feelings Nothing but Feelings
  • Chapter 3: The Fallacy of Intuition
    • What is Intuition
    • Using System 2 thinking
    • The Six Rules of Evidential Reasoning
  • Chapter 4: Quality - Preference or Perception
    • What is Quality?
    • Is this art?
    • How much can you afford to lose if it fails?
    • Software quality of the future
    • Gaming Bugs
    • Security risks and Backdoors
  • Chapter 5: Education and Training Others
    • Training Courses
    • Self Learning
    • Mentoring and Coaching
    • Reflection
    • A Competent Tester
    • Exploring the World
    • Child’s Play
    • Recipe Knowledge
  • Chapter 6 - Being Creative
    • What is Creativity?
    • The Creative Process Model
    • Myths about creativity
    • Idea Generation
    • Supporting the creative process
    • So many ideas - what next?
    • Problems and Creativity
    • Something Old, Something New
  • Chapter 7: The Importance of Critical Thinking
    • What is Critical Thinking
    • Automatic Thinking
    • Critical Arguments
    • Deductive and Inductive Reasoning
    • Biases and Fallacies
    • Characteristics of a critical thinker.
    • Techniques to Help Critical Thinking
    • The 5 W’s and H
    • Connection with creativity
    • The flow chart of critical thinking
    • Summary
    • Believing in the Requirements
    • Creative and Critical Thinking and Testing
    • Stages of testing.
    • How does this apply to testing?
  • Chapter 8 - Building Passion and Motivation
    • What does passion mean to you?
    • Defining Passion
    • Passion and Motivation
    • Self-Motivation
    • Team Motivation
    • Motivation Models
    • A warning about burnout
    • Utilizing Passion
    • Relationship to software testing
  • Chapter 9 - Testing and Social Science
    • What Is Social Science?
    • Social Science Research Methods
    • Ethnography
    • Ethnographic Research Feedback
    • Emergent Strategy
    • Grounded Theory
    • Qualitative Research Coding and Software Testing
    • Autistic Software
    • Tacit and Explicit Knowledge and Exploratory Testing
    • Note taking - The Cornell Method
    • Conclusions
  • Chapter 10 - The Positive and Negative of Teamwork
    • Successful Teamwork
    • Personality and Behaviours
    • Groupthink
    • Tips for working in teams
  • Chapter 15 - References
    • Acknowledgements
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 1 - Software Testing Biases
    • Chapter 2 - Emotional Roller-coaster
    • Chapter 3 - The Fallacy of Intuition
    • Chapter 4 - Quality - Preference or Perception
    • Chapter 5 - Education and Training Others
    • Chapter 6 - Being Creative
    • Chapter 7 - The Importance of Critical Thinking
    • Chapter 8 - Building Passion and Motivation
    • Chapter 9 - Testing and Social Science

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