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The QA Mind 


I’ve run into an interesting interview question previously that can separate people who may think like a QA Analyst from those who don’t. When asked how an interviewee may test the workings of your average office pen, some will simply ask if it will write. A true QA Analyst, however, will barrage you with ways to test it:

  • Does the pen write?
  • Does the pen write when it’s out of ink?
  • Does the pen write when it’s at N% of ink?
  • Does the pen write on your hand?
  • Does the pen write on wet paper?
  • Does the pen break if you bare down on it too hard?
  • Does the pen have a cap?
  • Does the cap fit on the pen?
  • Does the cap fall off if the pen is flipped upside down?
  • Is the pen a “clicky-top” pen?
  • When you click the pen does it allow you to write?
  • When you double click the pen does it prevent you from writing?

When a good QA Analysts is asked to answer the “pen test”, the possibilities may be endless. When you find someone who thinks this critically about how to test a supposedly simple object, just imagine what they would come up with if a complex piece of software is involved.


HeadShot_SeanAbout the Author

Sean Phillips is an Automation Engineer with 6 yearsʼ experience with financial, enterprise, ecommerce, and point of sale software. Sean is an HP and Ranorex certified CTE QA Automation Engineer. His extensive experience includes leading and managing an automation team onsite as well as managing offshore resources in Ireland.

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