On a new project, we often lack the luxury of having a subject matter expert available to answer our questions. When that’s the case, we have to become our own SME. Here are a few key methods from the writings and presentations of experts in various fields that deal with information gathering and rapid learning. You can easily use these methods, right now, to quickly gain the knowledge you need in order to move forward.
If you're first getting into software testing, or if you've started a new job testing in a different industry, you probably have a lot of questions—about terms and jargon, expectations, requirements, and more. Hopefully your new team will answer some of them, but if you feel like you keep bugging them, there are ways you can learn and discover on your own.
While having a computer science degree will surely help with a career in programming or testing, a background in liberal arts may end up helping you more than you know, too. The liberal arts teach logic, rhetoric, and how to see the big picture, which comes in handy when you're trying to make connections in complex systems. A well-rounded education helps anyone, but particularly testers.
When you're done with a project, you record what went well and should be repeated, and what went wrong and should be avoided. But do you ever actually revisit these findings on future projects? If not, you're passing up crucial knowledge. Martin Ivison describes how his organization created a process to learn from past experiences.