How do you recognise a bug? For me, the experience varies. Sometimes it’s a flash of inspiration, a Eureka moment, “That’s not right!” and obviously so. At other times it is a simple act of deduction: I am looking for a specific behaviour, the software doesn’t provide it, therefore I’ve found a bug.

The latter gets much of the attention: this lies at the heart of automated checks and traditional test scripts: do x, expect y, if not y then bug. Yet many of the bugs, and many of the most important bugs, that I’ve found in my life as a tester has fallen into the former category: they were bugs that simply leapt out at me, some of them screaming. This is powerful, and we ignore it at our peril: your skill and knowledge play a critical role in your ability to even SEE the bugs that lie before you.

Join me in this discussion of how intuition and tacit knowledge influence how human beings recognise bugs. Starting with just a little theory and examples, we’ll move quickly on to explore the implications for how you lead the process of discovery, how to balance tester integration and independence, and how to harness the diversity amongst members of your testing team.