How Cooking Enhanced My Product Testing?

Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation—experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way.”

– Paul Theroux

“Quality needs to be constantly improved, but it is just as necessary to make sure that quality never deteriorates.” Shigeru Mizuno

You may wonder why I’ve mentioned two quotes in this blog, one talks about cooking and the other is about quality and testing. When going through these two quotes, I am able to resonate with the similarities and both need constant improvement. The learnings from cooking enhanced my product testing skills.  In this blog, I am going to narrate how cooking a traditional simple recipe enhanced my product testing with a small incident from my personal experience.

A Little Background

When I was a kid, my grandma also stayed with us and had the privilege to enjoy her recipes too. Among many dishes, as a kid, I always wondered, both my grandma and mom have used the same ingredients to prepare but the tastes differed. I am taking a simple dish Rasam (Rasam is a south Indian recipe) for example. It can be consumed separately or along with the rice. My mom always tells this as Kailasa neer and explained the medicinal benefits out of it. . When I grew up and started cooking I also started preparing Rasam, but the taste was good but not awesome like my mom’s in the beginning. The taste of rasam depends on the correct proportion of each masala ingredient.  After a couple of trials,  I have made rasam exactly like my mom’s.  My mind is filled with joy and happiness.  In the last year, we were all hit by this Corona pandemic and we started discussing eating a healthy diet and boosting immunity.  I have started preparing a variety of rasams like pepper rasam, vepampoo rasam, paruppu rasam, lemon rasam, kandathippili rasam, etc with experimentation.  🙂

How Cooking enhanced my product testing

Next,  I am going to narrate how it enhanced my product testing.

Analogy in Cooking and Product Testing

As I have mentioned earlier, for preparing a variety of rasams, we need the core ingredients as well as specific ingredients. Also, we have to make adjustments of the ingredients, for example, to prepare pepper rasam the quantity of pepper will be a little bit higher and that flavor will be enhanced. 

Similarly, in product testing we have to set up different test environments, different test data sets, a combination of different tools based on the types of testing and the type of product as well as the customers of the product, last but not least the product mindset. 

The product testing is different from project testing since the project will be over in 6 months or in a year or two. But the product will be evolved continuously with innovation and creativity.   So, the product testing also has to be done more creatively, how we are making different flavors and varieties of the rasam without leaving our core strengths. In rasam, the core ingredients are pepper, cumin seeds, daniya, the other special ingredients verified based on the flavors and varieties.  

When I do product testing I will concentrate on the core workflow of the product and capture the bugs early. Once I am done with this, I have focussed on other types of testing like UI or deep. To garnish rasam I always add coriander leaves at the end to enhance the flavor as well as for the decoration. Similarly after finishing the system or testing of business workflow scenarios, attention to detail given to the UI.

Key Learnings

I am consolidating the key learnings from this analogy below:

  • Prepare test strategy based on the product/customer
  • Analyze & focus on the core business scenarios
  • Prioritize your test scenarios.
  • No one size fits all, act based on the situation
  • Keep on trying to do your best, success follows you

I hope  my experience helps you to enhance your testing too!

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