Let’s Go Larvae Hunting! with Jen Kitson

Let’s Go Larvae Hunting! with Jen Kitson

This Masterclass was kindly sponsored by Xray, the leading Quality Assurance and Test Management app for Jira. More than 4.5 million testers, developers and QA managers trust Xray to manage 100+ million test cases each month. It is a mission-critical tool at over 5,000 companies in 65 countries, including 137 of the Global 500. With Xray you can plan, execute and track your testing with full requirements traceability supported by both manual and automated tests, including BDD using Cucumber as well as JUnit, NUnit, Robot and others. Discover the future of testing and start your free trial today at getxray.app.


I’ve often found that a tester’s most valuable work does not result in formal bug reports. My proudest testing moments are when I identify issues before they get a chance to become bugs. I call these issues “larvae”: issues that aren’t bugs yet, but which have the potential to grow into bugs if left unchecked.

This makes “larvae hunting” the practice of identifying potential bugs in software before the change is implemented.

When we identify issues as larvae we have a chance to fix them early and with less work, meaning we need fewer expensive bug fixes later in the development process.

Good larvae hunting is a mix of testing the requirements, spec and design, along with good observation of people and their interactions, as well as the ability to imagine bugs. In this Masterclass, I’ll talk about what this important aspect of testing looks like and how we can encourage testers to spend more of their time hunting larvae.

I’ll answer the following questions:

  • How can you learn to find bugs before they become bugs?
  • What do we need to do as individuals, teams and companies to make this possible?


Key takeaways:

  • “Larvae-hunting” is the practise of finding issues before they get a chance to grow into bugs. It adds enormous value to a team, therefore we need to encourage individuals and teams to develop the skill.
  • Testers already have half the skills required for larvae-hunting, and with support they can strengthen the other skills.
  • Creating the right environment is key to promoting larvae-hunting. Teams must ensure that the right people have the right information, and that everyone feels safe to raise questions and concerns.

What You'll Learn

  • Learn how to catch bugs before they become bugs.