I was reading a job position offering these days for a “QA engineer“.
There was the usual mumbo jumbo of the required traits (BSC in computer science or equivalent“, “Worked directly with R&D department) and advantage points (“General knowledge of at least one mainstream (programming) language“), and one of the requirements lines said “Testing methodologies: STD, STP“.
I got curious to know what these methodologies are and what the TLA mean, so I called the company offering the job:

— Hi, Nancy? (Name changed. And she wasn’t the testing manager, she was from the HR.)
— Yes.
— Hi, my name is Shmuel and I saw you’re offering a software testing position, the “QA engineer” opening…
— We have it, right.
— I saw that one of the requirements is to know the STD and STP methodologies, and I was wondering what are STD and STP.
— Well, if you have no experience on that, then the position is not relevant to you.
— No, no, I guess the experience is fine; it is just that the announcement made me curious. These acronyms can mean many things, you know? So I want to know how your company understands them.
— They mean specification documents.
— Does STD stand for Software Test Documentation? What does the STP mean?
— No, STD is for Software Test Design, and the P… Well, both mean specification documents.
— Why design? Is that the specification of the tests to run, of the testing system, or of the product?
— Why don’t you just look up the meanings on Google?
— I tried right before calling you. The acronyms are all over the web, but they have different meanings too (*).
— Listen, these are very important topics, if you don’t know them the position is not relevant. They’re very important, and very well known.
— I see. Thanks you Nancy!
— Thanks, bye bye.

Very important and well known. Well, I guess I’ll put them in my list of things to learn… As soon as I decide which meaning I want them to have…

Let’s see. I guess two of the best “methods” I use in testing are:

STD – Software Test Drawing: Scribbling in a whiteboard (pen+paper are good too, but my experience shows whiteboards are much better). This is especially useful when you’re working with someone else. With some squares and circles explanations become simple, concepts become clear, people can point when they talk, you can easily delete mistakes, and the best part is that usually there is always a joke at the end of the process. Whiteboard scribbling is a major testing tool for me.

STP – Software Test Peer (or Pal): If you are like me, your brain is constantly storming :). Nothing beats thinking out loud or talking to peers and fellow testers/developers about the challenges you face — more often than not you’ll learn about a direction you hadn’t thought of or about a tool that can help. Works fantastically with STD :).

I may start an “Alphabet of Really Useful Software Testing Things” — please contribute on the comments.

(*) In fact Google says D and P apparently can mean Design, Documentation, Development, Performance, Process, Plan, Programming…Pick your own definition. Most companies seem to accept STP as Software Test Plan, though.I still like that anyone can pick the definition that best suits his needs or business, though. So I’ll stick to mine ;).

Note to my employer: No, I am not looking for a job elsewhere yet :).