Cognitive bias in tests: The most human side of testing
Types of cognitive bias that affect testers and how to avoid them:
- To avoid the sunk cost fallacy, analyze ROI of the current solution & compare alternatives. Continuously refactor existing systems to stay up-to-date.
- Mitigate the anchoring effect (excessive reliance on early information) by ensuring testers are familiar with the project’s context and placing testers directly in touch with clients or decision-makers.
- Counter confirmation bias (relying on information that confirms what we already believe in) by relying on measurable, objective values rather than opinion. Use A/B testing and have team members undertake cross-testing for each other.
- Negativity bias makes past negative experiences weigh in too much on decision-making. It can make one pessimistic of the current release. Mitigate it by developing suites of automatic checks, by categorizing bugs by severity & impact and by doing a trend analysis of bug reports and solutions over time.
- Inattentional blindness can be due to fatigue or tunnel vision from hyper-focusing on specific areas. Use peer reviews, pair testing, cross-testing, & automated checks, and encourage exploratory rather than script-based testing.
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