Testing vs Checking

I wish I had seen this post – Testing vs Checking by Michael Bolton – about a year ago when I was trying to explain this concept to my manager at the time. The manager’s opinion was that testing = checking, and as soon as checking was done, that meant that testing was done. The terminology of “checking” vs “testing” didn’t occur to me at the time, and I poorly tried to explain it as “basic testing” and “real testing”, which was not received well.

Michael Bolton’s explanation is very good. Bookmark this article now. You will need it in the following situations:

  • When you’re explaining to someone why a tester’s sole purpose is not to check a developer’s work for them
  • When you need to explain why testing is not finished just because all of the test cases have passed
  • When you need to explain why actual human testers can never be replaced by automated test suites
  • When you need to explain why testers do need expected results (specifications, requirements, etc) in order to do checking
  • …and probably many more situations where you find yourself having to explain what it is that testers actually do

Thanks Michael. You are an asset to those of us cursed with feeble explanations.

2 thoughts on “Testing vs Checking

  1. Yes, the series is very good.

    It also gives a good basis as to why “you need to think when running batches of automated test cases”. It’s not as simple as press a button and pick up all the pass results.

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