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Stc mag-feb2010


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Stc mag-feb2010

  1. 1. And welcome to the new Software Testing Club others this year is about fine tuning their skills, Magazine. building their learning, promoting testing and spreading the word. No matter what your testing It’s very exciting to be kicking off 2010 with the goal is for 2010 though let the Software Testing release of The Software Testing Club magazine. Club be there to help you along. It’s a brand spanking new magazine full of articles, news, fun and games. In keeping with the vibe of We are on the lookout for more articles, stories the STC we’ve kept the magazine fresh, fun and and much more for the next edition so please get focused on you, the testers. them sent in to This premier edition sees tall tales of new code, The main peeps behind the magazine: stories of agile success, advice on gatekeeping, real life ghost stories, blog updates, cartoons and Rob Lambert much more. The Social Tester Think of this magazine as your little bit of fun. Your source of testing stories. Your little bit of Rosie Sherry downtime. Your little magazine of testing. And The Social Creator feel free to share this magazine with your friends and colleagues. Ping it around and share the fun. Joel Montvelisky There’s no doubt 2010 is going to be an exciting The Anti-E Social Tester year for software testing. With some great initia- tives and concepts forming and with technology moving at such a rapid rate, it’s going to be a Phil Kirkham challenging yet interesting year for many in our The Social Builder profession. For some testers it’s early days, they’re learning A huge thanks and high-fives go to all who con- the craft and building their skills, getting to grips tributed content and all who worked behind the with what testing is, finding out more about the scenes proof reading and helping out to make craft and gaining valuable work experience. For this magazine possible. Works on my machine.
  2. 2. Contents News Carnival of Testers 4 Agony Aunt 16 Articles Motivating Staff and Traditional Techniques 6 I’m Not Just A Tester 9 The Ghost 11 The Emperors New Code 13 Do You Have Testing Cred 25 Testing in The Open 32 Testers in the Gatekeeper Role 35 Experience Report 37 Tester’s Diary 40 What is Social Media 44 Blogs Optimistic Developers, Pessimistic Testers 18 The Added Value of Testers 20 You Want Good, Improvisational Agile training? 22 Distributed Agile 22 Conversations Twitter Conversation 27 Starting Out As A New Tester 28 Fun Left Hand Tester 5 Automation 8 Career Planning 12 Do Loop Until 0 19 Bug Trophy 26 A Testing Maze 31 Blame 34 Do Loop Until 0 43 Ads Classified Small Ads 45
  3. 3. Carnival of Testers Activity from the blogosphere The blog-activity-ometer has been very busy in New Faces? the last 3-4 months. Plenty of output, plenty of discussion, topic cut’n’thrust and the odd (some- The last few months of 2009 saw a bunch of times very odd) amusing post. testers starting to blog. Let’s take a sample from the smorgasbord of Yvette Francino bounced onto the blogging delights that have been those blog posts. scene in September. She has been writing about a range of topics and issues connected with her Testing vs. Checking learning of different test-related areas. In this post she reviews the progress made since starting Let’s start at the high-end of the Richter scale... Beyond Certification. Michael Bolton started writing about the “testing vs. checking” subject in a number of posts (the The end of September saw Peter step onto the first one here). This was a topic that generated a blogging scene. He covers a wide range of trig- lot of discussion, comments (on various sites) and gers and influences in his posts, this look at learn- blog posts - including approval, disapproval and ing styles and philosophy was a typical example. I was waiting for the Spanish Inquisition (Monty- python style of course) but I think Michael has November saw Dave Whalen land on the escaped the torture of the “comfy chair” so far. blog-o-scene with a look at bug report priority and severity. Several people wrote (or tested and explored their thoughts) on it and aspects relating to it, Seth Eliot started writing in December and has including Albert Gareev, Martin Jansson, Simon produced a few posts worth checking out. One Morley, Ben Simo and Trish Khoo. of his latest was a post covering the code cover- age discussion between Matt Heusser, Alan Page Fair Play and BJ Rollison. For an enlightening view of the discussion check his “exciting code coverage” Articles were written encouraging testers to treat post out. each other with courtesy, polite- ness, fairness, respect and to not Rounding off the year of new and pre-judge. People stepping up recent bloggers John Stevenson put to encourage this were Lannette finger to keyboard. Another tester’s Creamer, Lisa Crispin, Catherine critical eye being cast on issues of Powell, Matt Heusser and Jon the day. Bach. Worth bearing in mind when the discussions are getting Random Pick? heated... Misko Hevery provided an intro Weekend Testers to getting started with your own TDD. Get past those nightmares about TDD! Probably the most recent new group has been the weekend testers. Many different people have Anne-Marie Charrett helps you discover if you’re written enthusiastically about the idea. Check incompetent without knowing about it! Don’t out James Bach’s post, Bharath’s summary and have nightmares if you know that you don’t know Parimala Shankaraiah’s experience report. something! Let’s work as a team and do it MY way.
  4. 4. Yours-truly on ways of tackling software test- Don’t have nightmares about the chicken! ing myths by relating them to absurdity. Don’t have nightmares just “strange dreams”! Rob Lambert’s encounters with the animal king- dom and planning. Yes, time to have nightmares Adam Goucher’s post on great public speaking tips. about the rabbit! Great tips about great speaking! No need for night- mares about public speaking! by Simon Morley. He blogs at: Markus Gärtner’s post and photo collec- tion at his software craftsmanship Pecha Kucha. By Andy Glover: February 2010 Page 5
  5. 5. Motivating staff and traditional techniques by James Christie R ecently I’ve been thinking and writing and a senior statistician to set aside two days to about the effects of testing standards. brief me and my assistant. There was just us, a The more I thought, the more convinced flip chart, and gallons of coffee as they talked us I became that standards, or any rigid processes, through the market they were competing in, the can damage the morale, and even the problems they faced and their need for better professionalism, of IT professionals if information from the underwriting and they are not applied wisely. claims applications with which they did business. The problem is that calling them “standards” implies that they are I realised that it was going to be a pig mandatory and should be applied of a job to give them what they in all cases. The word should be needed. It would take several months. reserved for situations where However, I could give them about a compliance is essential, eg security, quarter of what they needed in short good housekeeping or safety critical order. So we knocked up a quick applications. disposable application in a couple of weeks that delighted them, and then got to I once worked for a large insurance company as work on the really tricky stuff. an IT auditor in Group Audit. I was approached by Information Services. Would I consider mov- The source systems proved to be riddled with er- ing to lead a team developing new management rors and poor quality data, so it took longer than information (MI) applications? It sounded inter- expected. However, we’d got the users on our esting, so I said yes. side by giving them something quickly, so they were patient. On my first day in the new role I asked my new manager what I had to do. He stunned me when It took so long to get phase 1 of the application he said. “You tell me. I’ll give you the contact working to acceptable tolerances that I decided details for your users. Go and see them. They’re to scrap phase 2, which was nearly fully coded, next in line to get an MI application. See what and rejig the design of the first part so that it they need, then work out how you’re going to de- could do the full job on its own. That option had liver it. Speak to other people to see how they’ve been ruled out at the start because there seemed done it, but it’s up to you”. to be insurmountable performance problems. The company did have standards and processes, but they weren’t rigid and they Our experience with testing had shown that we weren’t very useful in the esoteric could make the application run much world of insurance MI, so we faster than we’d thought possible, but were able to pick and choose how that the fine tuning of the code to we developed applications. produce accurate MI was a nightmare. It therefore made sense to clone jobs My users were desperate for a and programs wholesale to extend the better understanding of their first phase and forget about trying to portfolio; what was profitable, and what was hack the phase 2 code into shape. unprofitable. I had no trouble getting a manager It’s not a blame culture but it’s their fault.
  6. 6. The important point is that I was allowed to take Handling the users isn’t a matter of building a decision that meant binning several hundred lasting relationships with fellow professionals. It’s hours of coding effort and utterly transforming a a matter of “managing the stakeholders”, being design that had been signed off. diplomatic with them rather than candid, and if all else fails telling them “to read the I took the decision during a trip to the ******* contract”. dentist, discussed it with my assistant on my return, sold the idea to the This isn’t a rant about contractual users and only then did I present my development. Contracts don’t have to management with a fait accompli. be written so that the development team is They had no problems with it. They in a strait-jacket. It’s just that traditional trusted my judgement, and I was techniques fit much more neatly with taking the users along with me. contracts than agile, or any iterative ap- proach. Procurement is much simpler if you The world changed and an outsourcing deal pretend that traditional, linear techniques are meant I was working for a big supplier, with best practice; if you pretend that software devel- development being driven by formal processes, opment is like civil engineering, and developing rigid standards and contracts. This wasn’t all an application is like building a bridge. bad. It did give developers some protection from the sort of unreasonable pressure that could be Development and testing are really not like that brought to bear when relationships were less all. The actual words used should be a good clue. formal. However, it did mean that I never again Development is not the same as construction. had the same freedom to use my own initiative Construction is what you do when you’ve devel- and judgement. oped an idea to the point where it can be manu- The bottom line was that it could be better to do factured, or built. the wrong thing for the corporately correct rea- son, than to do the right thing the “wrong” way. Traditional techniques were based on that fun- By “better” I mean better for our careers, and damental flaw; the belief that development was not better for the customers. engineering, and that repeatable success required greater formality, more tightly defined processes Ultimately that is soul destroying. What really and standards, and less freedom for developers. gets teams fired up is when developers, testers and users all see themselves as being on the same Good development is a matter of investigation, side, determined to produce a great product. experimentation and exploration. It’s about looking at the possibilities, and Reality is chaotic. Processes are evaluating successive versions. It’s not perfectly repeatable only if one about plodding through a process pretends that reality is neat, orderly document. and predictable. The result is strain, tension and developers ordered to Different customers, different users do the wrong things for the “right” and different problems will require reasons, to follow the processes different approaches. These various mandated by standards and by the approaches are not radically different contract. from each other, but they are more varied than is allowed for by rigid and formal processes. Instead of making developers more “profession- Any organisation that requires development al” it has exactly the opposite effect. It reduces teams to adhere to these processes, rather than them to the level of, well, second hand car sales- make their own judgements based on their expe- men, knocking out old cars with no warranty. It’s rience and their users’ needs, frequently requires hardly a crime, but it doesn’t get me excited. the developers to do the wrong things. Development and testing become drudgery. February 2010 Page 7
  7. 7. This is demoralising, and developers working in confused ignorance, don’t try to re-invent the under these constraints have the initiative, en- wheel, and don’t blunder into swamps that have thusiasm and intellectual energy squeezed out consumed previous projects. of them. As they build their careers in such an atmosphere they become corporate bureaucrats. If development is exploration it is thrilling and They rise to become not development managers, brings out the best in us. People rise to the chal- but managers of the development process; not lenge, learn and grow. They want to do it again test managers, but managers of the test process. and get better at it. If development means plod- Their productivity is measured in meetings and ding through a process document it is a grind. reports. Sometimes the end product seems a by- product of the real business; doing the process. I know which way has inspired me, which way has given users applications I’ve been proud of. If people are to realise their potential they need It wasn’t the formal way. It wasn’t the traditional managers who will do as mine did; who will way. Set the developers free! say, “here is your problem, tell me how you’re going to solve it”. We need guidance from pro- James Christie is an independent cesses and standards in the same way as we need software testing consultant. guidance from more experienced practitioners, but they should be suggestions of possible ap- proaches so that teams don’t flounder around By Andy Glover: Cannot reproduce.
  8. 8. i’m not just a tester i’m more than that by peter haworth-langford Experience can shape you forever right? Who else would I work with? Well I used to work closely with marketing (they were generally I remember one of the first jobs I had was in interested in how things were going, we’d make the airline industry where data and data accu- specialized products for customers, which ‘mar- racy is of supreme importance. I joined when keting’ generally controlled along with in-product the company had started branching out into advertising) . electronic products, that was a great coincidence for me. One of the things I was involved in was Anyone else? The helpdesk, I worked with the producing shrink wrapped software for large helpdesk sharing product knowledge, trying out corporations. There was a big mainframe that customer issues on the products (because I was took feeds from all the major airlines to produce probably the only person with every latest prod- a massive database. There were cobol/jcl jobs, uct version, and an environment to install on if that ran with lots of rules, I mean loads…they required) . ran overnight or over a weekend and produced an extract. That extract had to be ‘checked’ and So why am I sharing this then got downloaded to a PC. Batch jobs then with you? You’ve heard converted the data into a form that could be pre- this all before haven’t you? sented in a commercial application. I don’t want to just execute So what was my involvement? Well I did some tests, I don’t want to be just stuck in extract ‘checking’. Well what I call checking, testers corner. I want to be involved I ran the batch files, checked the output from with the mainframe guys (which I guess those, built the software, installed it, tested it with are now the database people), I liked the new data. I then Burned a gold CD or ‘mas- talking to the Devs in the U.S at 1:30pm, ter’ floppy disks (trust me putting data onto 15 it involved me in their world? Marketing, floppy disks was laborious but it must have been yes I liked the involvement there too, getting worse for the customer who had to install them… an insight into what we might have to build we quickly moved to producing CDs only), and next. The helpdesk, helping them out, sharing then to ‘production’. I really loved that job! my knowledge, questions like ‘We’ve got a cus- I got to talk to the mainframe guys (did every- tomer who did x? can you check this out?’ (They thing run as expected?) It was all about abends! never said ‘can you test this?’) Does anybody remember those? The batch file and software developers (they were mostly based I still remember a call to this day about a cus- in the U.S. and I was based in the UK). tomer who said ‘We gotta virus! The cursor keeps falling off the bottom of the screen’. Any batch file processing problems? Well if I found them in the morning I would have to wait After a management panic we worked it out in until 1:30pm to give the developers a call. I loved the end…the customers lever arch folder was those guys! (If I ever got the chance of putting a stuck on the enter key…The weight of the folder dream team together they would be in it!). Once on the enter key on the keyboard kept it de- I’d done my stuff and got a ‘master’ it was off to pressed which would make the cursor move and production, they would take my CDs /floppies not allow you to do anything else. send them off to a ‘replicator’ who would take the masters and produce 1000’s of copies. February 2010 Page 9
  9. 9. In another job, I was asked to produce the acces- testing? You are also the toolsmith aren’t you? sibility guide for developers, there was absolutely no test execution involved in this activity, it got You have knowledge of a particular area of the published and as far as I know the developers system? You could be the domain expert couldn’t followed it. Was that a good thing? I thought so, you? but more importantly I got to learn all about web accessibility. We do management as well don’t we? Testers doing management? Yes. We organize things we Just a tester?...maybe want to test, things around what we want to test (test environments for example) all to timescales. More recently I’ve been more closely involved That’s time management isn’t it? What about de- with customers, sometimes I feel customers are fect lifecycles? That’s defect management isn’t it? not sure what they want, that’s fine that’s their prerogative right? Sometimes they can have a Well I want to be involved in everything, every- vision but finer details require ‘walking through’, where. Everyone could do with an extra person someone who is the between the techies and the couldn’t they? Does that fit into the definition non-techies. of tester? How about ‘a bit of everythinger’? A ‘Floaty’ - A floating person? The chewing gum Just a tester?…maybe in-between everything? Yeah I’ll take that. A solver? Yes I like that I like trying to solve things. What about using ‘sapient processes to question a Or maybe the workeroutta? Requirements, De- product in order to evaluate it’ or signs, applications… ‘Making an observation linked to a decision rule How about all the learning, practicing and im- that may be performed by a machine…’ proving I want to do? Is this a tester?…maybe Just a tester?… Have you ever worked with a 3rd party and you How about part of the team? had to do some testing? Well the 3rd party are providing you a service aren’t they? In this situa- tion you could be the customer couldn’t you? By Peter Haworth-Langford What about creating some tools to help with your As designed.
  10. 10. The Ghost by Luisa Baldaia it was the first time that the only task they were asked to do a tool without identifying the needs. was Testing. They were a small team too. Back to the new (reorganisa- I would like to tell you a story. tion) era, how do we test now? A story about the time a Soft- I could say we practice a little ware House starts testing its “It was so of Exploratory Testing and a own software. little of Checking. We work simple, why in a month development life You might think it strange, cycle. A lot of new procedures start testing? What did they do didn’t we think were defined in Quality, like before? It’s not that strange. In Acceptance Criteria (the point Portugal many software houses about it before? when it is acceptable by the still don’t do formal testing, at client), Regression Tests and least the way we think about And we can Maintenance tests. testing. develop more like Two years have since passed In this company they started and little innovation has been testing after a reorganisation this to apply to seen in the testing process. Yes, of teams. They moved from we have become more experi- teams specialized in different other processes” enced. Yes, we now have bug business areas, to teams spe- tracking tools. No, we didn’t cialized in different functional achieve as much Quality as areas. Everyone was distrib- wished. Yes, we started to think uted in and around the most about some Automation again. suitable new team. In the past a decision was taken in the Automation direc- We had avoided Automation. Before the reorganisation (the tion. They bought an expen- The ghost of the past was still new development model) each sive tool, one of the best in the there, and he wasn’t helping person on her team was ana- market, and started working. our Team. lyst, programmer, tester and Should I say working? No. documenter, all at the same They tried to put it to work but Even so we started to think time. All the roles were there they didn’t prepare themselves about Automation again. We but distributed in another way. properly. It was necessary to needed to. The results weren’t bad but the identify the right features, number of code lines written functions and processes to was not that large either. automate, define test cases, cre- ate test data, evaluate mainte- After the reorganisation the nance cost, etc. Unfortunately, one team who experienced the this homework and prep work most difficulties in adapting was not done and the result to the new role was the Test was a bad experience and a team. Not that the role was bad investment. The first step completely new to them, but was itself the first error, buying February 2010 Page 11
  11. 11. One day, one of the testers he created some batch files and faced a problem. There was a scheduled them to run every of_Columbus) critical high use process that night. was going to be modified. The The rest of the story is easy to changes were deeply affecting, Automation was done and it imagine so the project manager de- was so easy and quick to do. cided to do it in 3 phases. The After a few testing sessions he The great thing about this process, that was about to be presented the results and the story is that a simple idea was modified, normally processes work to the rest of the team. capable of killing the Ghost. a large amount of data and it The Ghost was gone. was mission critical. So the tes- What do you think they ter thought that there was only thought about it? In all companies, in all teams, one way to assure that things on all projects there are ghosts. would keep working well after Every one was astonished. “It It’s in our hands to beat them. each phase: automate tests. was so simple, why didn’t we So this tester started to work think about it before? And we can develop more like this to By Luisa Baldaia - on it. In a few hours he built apply to other processes”. QA Lead at Primavera some simple scripts. Then he found a way to feed them with The egg of Columbus - this Business Software existing test data. To finalize is what they called it. (http:// Solutions By Andy Glover: It’s a feature.
  12. 12. the emperor’s new code by robert healey There once lived an Emperor of marketing who finest commercially licensed code and the costli- was so excessively fond of new processes, practic- est machines on which to compile; these they es, methodologies and fads that he spent his en- auctioned on e-bay and worked on surfing the tire R&D budget on them, just so he could keep ‘net till late into the night. one step ahead of the competition. Just as they say of other senior managers that they “keep in At the end of the first iteration the Emperor mind the balance sheet”, so the Emperor was sent his Chief Financial Officer to measure the always said to be “reading Business Week”. burn-down velocity and see that work was in compliance with ISO 9003 (he’d Googled it). He The company, being new and dynamic, (and would have gone himself except that he felt that without a sign on the door) attracted many since those not fit for their offices would fail to strangers; hawkers, traders and purveyors of re- derive meaning, it was important at such times to ligious services. One day, two rogues came, they emphasise task delegation, although he definitely gave themselves as “Dreamweavers – the ulti- had nothing to fear for himself. That, and he had mate developers” and declared they could design, indigestion, a headache and his mother-in-law code and implement an entire e-commerce strat- was coming to visit. But definitely nothing to egy for the company. They announced that their fear; at all. All the employees knew what pecu- coding skills were the finest that could be imag- liar power their promised company site would ined. Not only were their interfaces, they said, so possess, and all were anxious to see how bad or uncommonly user-friendly that documentation stupid their colleagues were. would be unnecessary but also that their engines were so robust that testing was pointless. Websites “I will send my honest CFO to the weavers,” generated using their code had such wonderful thought the Emperor. “She can best judge how it quality that they became meaningless to anyone looks, for she has sense and no-one understands who was incorrigibly stupid or was unfit for the that Sarbanes-Oxley stuff better than she.” office he or she held. Now the good and hugely-overworked CFO went “What a capital idea?!” thought the Emperor. “If into the development suite, (with newly installed I should launch such a site, I should be able to pool-table, arcade games machines and espresso find out what employees are not fit for the posi- coffee maker) sat at a computer terminal and tions they have and should be able to spot the opened her eyes wide. “I cannot see anything easy-picking customers that are dunces. Yes, this except this blue screen of death!” But she did not code must be compiled for me on all platforms say this. immediately!” Both the cowboys begged her to be so good as And he gave the rogues a great deal of cash in to come nearer (and to bring two coffees while hand and a plan of iterative development with she was standing) and asked if she approved of regular previews so they might begin their work the developments in the engine, style sheets and at once. underlying architecture. They then pointed to the top right corner, and the As for the Dreamweavers, they turned on two financial officer stared at netbooks and pretended to be working but they the screen; but she could were only reading news-sites (and occasionally see nothing because there They demanded the was nothing to see. February 2010 Page 13
  13. 13. “Crikey!” she thought, “seven years in business ing too many parodies of the one scene from school, can I indeed be so stupid? I never thought “Downfall” on YouTube, had developed faux that, and the Association of Chartered Accoun- London cockney accents. They displayed and tants must not know it. Am I not fit for a rise to discussed the Qt GUI of HTML, XML which a major industry player and out of this pokey was pure Flash. They said it was their unique company with no e-commerce strategy? No, it combination of C, C++ and C# that made the will never do for me to tell that I could not see display see-through to those stupid or unfit. It the stuff.” was something about the common PASCAL root and, for some people, the pressure “Whadya think?” asked one was just too much. coder as he went on typing in shell scripts. “That last pun was awful!” inwardly groaned the HR chief “but I also “Oh, it is remarkable – most ro- know I am unfit to work in HR as bust!” answered the career-focussed financial of- I barely passed my English bachelors. I’ve years ficer as she peered through her spectacles. “What of student loans to repay so I must not let it be efficiency of code use; just one line to produce all noticed.” And so he praised the stuff he did not that! I shall email a report to the Emperor that I understand and expressed his pleasure at the am very, very pleased with it.” wonderful design and intuitive interface. “You’ll love it,” he informed the Emperor. “We are glad of that,” said both Dreamweavers; and they spoke of bashing the finest shells, of At the office watercooler all the topic of con- using the heart of Python with the most exquisite versation was of this amazing new code. How routines using mother-of-Perl. They said the Java beautiful it was; how much easier each of their had kept them up for nights on end, so strong jobs would become; how much more work would was the type used. The CFO recorded all points result; where a box could be found at short notice using shorthand, that she might be able to report in case, you know, I had to pack up my desk it accurately. She did this so. or something. At the end of the final stitch-up phase the Emperor had procrastinated enough Now the rogues asked for more money, unregis- and signed-off on too many unforeseen expenses, tered software licenses, and stock options on top he had to see his new code for himself. With the Fortune 500 companies, which they declared they entire staff in tow (including the co-ops), he went needed to incentivise their coding motivation. to the two cunning “developers” who were now They exercised all in-the-money options and typing furiously without any text editor being funnelled all proceeds to accounts in the Cayman open. Islands; not one line of code was typed in return. They continued to surf on social network sites, “Isn’t that amazing?” said the CFO and head dubious chat rooms and low-cost airline ticket of HR simultaneously. The head of HR then vendors as before. called “jinx”, which he later came to regret and compensate for as a result of an equality tribu- The second iteration end soon approached and nal. They pointed at the large blue screen with the Emperor dispatched another honest officer “C.A.N. P.I.G. R.I.D.E.” in the centre for they of the board, the head of Human Resources, to thought that the others could see the new site. see if the deadline would be achieved. He fared just as his colleague: he looked and looked, but as there was nothing to see except a blue screen with “CAN PIG RIDE”. It was totally meaning- less to him. “Have you ever seen a neater bit o’ stuff guv’nor?” asked the two rogues who, after watch- No user would do that.
  14. 14. The Emperor who had grown up with texts- being podcast later that day. peke and never sought to question abbreviations thought, “OMG! I can’t see anything. I must be As the Emperor pressed the eponymous big red dumber than two short planks. What is ‘can pig button and the sites “homepage” appeared on ride’ suppose to mean? I mustn’t be fit to be Em- the giant screen behind peror? In the circumstances him. Everyone in the it’s pretty cool that I am press corps said, “How then. Great. LMAO.” Aloud incomparable is this site he said, “That’s tremendous! to all others?! What a Great work guys! Well worth technological break- the effort. This is revolution- through?! Truly a paradigm shift in web devel- ary!” All present ooh’ed and aah’ed as the opment!” None let it be perceived that they were rogues described all the various features of the stupid or unfit for their salary. site. Anyone who was offered control of the mouse to navigate for themselves politely but “Would the whole lot of ye ever cop on?” a little firmly refused and claimed that it was so imme- Irish child cried out at last. Slowly at first and diately intuitive as to warrant no further action. then with gusto the murmur rumbled through The staff recommended that the Emperor should the crowd. First of confusion, then of agreement launch the site as soon as pos- and then of mirth until at sible to share its wonders with last the whole audience the world. The whole company was shaking with laughter seemed to be in general cel- and shouting as one, “the ebratory mode, the Dream- Emperor has no cop on!” weavers were given immediate performance bonuses (approved by HR and the Epilogue: CFO) and all headed down to the pub for a drink and to wonder privately how best to polish their The child grew up to be a software tester, extol- CV’s. ling the virtues of early and frequent testing. The whole night before the site went live the The Emperor settled most of his lawsuits with rogues were awake, playing multiplayer online former employees out of court, got a major book games against a team in Lesotho, Africa and deal and sold the rights to have it made into a finally ensuring that all browsing histories and major motion picture. cookies were removed from their machines and that anything small enough and not nailed down The rogue developers used the proceeds of their was in their travel bags. The Emperor himself scam to emigrate to Eastern Europe where they had organised a massive viral marketing cam- now run a major spam factory. paign with A-list celebrities endorsing the won- ders of the new company website. The scripts for And they all lived happily ever after. the 30 second advertisements were written by the developers and included the lines, “See how easy it is to use, how quickly to load”, “You’ll be sur- prised by our attention to detail” and “Guaran- teed to work 100% of your time”. Press releases were issued to all major tv, radio and newspaper networks extolling the benefits and, ultimately, return to shareholders. The public launch was broadcast live from the town square and shown in 14 different countries in six languages and was February 2010 Page 15
  15. 15. Agony Aunt A s a bug finding tester I rock. To skills. totally rock I need to work on my soft skills. What’s the best way to For each skill ask yourself: acquire these? 1. What do I do now? 2. What happens when I do this? Well, I guess the first thing that I need to do is to 3. How would I like this to be different? clarify what soft skills are. In my view, the term 4. What, specifically, would I need to do differ- ‘soft skills’ (Emotional Intelligence) can be de- ently? (Try to state this in the positive; I need to fined as a cluster of personality traits, social cul- do……or more of…… (rather than stop doing, ture, communication, language, personal habits, or do less of etc.). approachability and general outlook (optimism) 5. Of everyone I know, who does this well? that characterise the relationships with those around you. As you’ve already identified, these Once you have found a person for the answer to skills play an important part in your contribution #5 take the following actions : to the success of a project and ultimately to the organisation. What specifically do they do (notice their behav- iour, what and when they communicate; their So, when considering your professional career as body language, how and when they do this…) a tester, which soft skills are more important than others? Visualise or if it’s easier, talk yourself through you doing these things. Daniel Goleman’s best seller Emotional Intel- ligence: Why it can matter more than IQ , is an What do you hear yourself say? (Pace, tone, the interesting read, although the real answer to this language itself etc.) question does of course, depend upon your role. How do you feel about doing these things? Con- However, to concentrate on your approachability, fident, assertive, positive, good, clear, better than communication and optimism would prove to be normal? a solid starting point. If the answer to your question is in the negative, What is the best way to acquire these? There then ask yourself why you feel this way and if it’s are obviously lots of websites, books and train- appropriate, choose another thing to copy.Re-run ing courses that specialise in a host of soft skills, the last three (or four) stages at least another 4 to and depending upon your confidence, consider a 5 times to help you feel more comfortable. training course that will enable you to get feed- back in a really safe environment. This is particu- Proactively choose a time when you can ‘safely’ larly important when learning or improving soft practice doing this differently (i.e.: choose a situa- skills, as measuring success can be more subjec- tion that doesn’t put yourself in the ‘spotlight’). tive than, say, passing an exam, or writing a piece of code. Ask someone you trust to give you honest feed- back to assess your progress. In saying all of that, here is a pragmatic ap- proach that you may want to also consider: On the basis that any feedback is good; listen to the feedback (getting as specific as you can) and To break the job down into more manageable take action. and achievable sizes, take each skill you want to concentrate on and ask yourself these questions: Take the last three stages again! As they say, Supposition: Everyone has some level of soft practice makes perfect! That’s what the spec said.
  16. 16. Agony Aunt I ’m the Introvert personality type so (what’s the situation, the perceived problems, during meetings I like to listen to what what are the implications the possible solutions, is being said then go away and think who’s involved etc. etc) about what was said. This does mean that I can be seen as not contributing to meet- Make notes of your thoughts and refer to them ings, how can I learn to be more vocal dur- during the meeting (which leaves you free to lis- ing meetings? ten and choose your moment to contribute) Let’s start on a positive note! Being able to listen Take small steps. Commit to making at least one carefully in meetings means that when you have contribution to each meeting and the more often something to say, its going to be relevant and you contribute, the more comfortable you’ll feel. valuable. It will take time, so be patient with yourself ! To help you feel more comfortable in sharing If it’s possible, choose someone you trust to ask your thoughts with others, consider this stepped for feedback after the meeting. approach: Take whatever feedback they have (and the more Ensure you read through the agenda and think specific and detailed the better!) and take action! about the possible things (topics) that might be discussed. Repeat these steps until you find contributing easier; taking less conscious effort. Next, clarify your thoughts on these topics The Agony Aunt is here to help! Got a burning question? Our Secret Aunty is here to help. Email questions to We’ll do our best to answer them in future issues. We totally respect your privacy. Questions can be kept anonymous. February 2010 Page 17
  17. 17. Classic Blogosphere Optimistic Developers, Pessimistic Testers by joe Strazzere In my experience, developers tend to be optimis- Optimistic Developer: The code is the design tic folks, while testers tend to be more pessimistic. Pessimistic Tester: There is no design • Developers are creators, with a natural opti- Optimistic Developer: We’ll fix those bugs later, mism about making new things and solving when we have time difficult problems. Pessimistic Tester: We never have enough time to • Testers are fault finders, with a necessary fix the bugs skepticism and doubt. • If developers are the yin, testers are the yang. Optimistic Developer: This build is feature com- plete I believe this is a good thing, a sort of checks- Pessimistic Tester: The features exist; some are and-balances tension that makes for better completely broken software. Optimistic Developer: Anything is possible, given But it does lead to some interesting contrasts... enough time Pessimistic Tester: Everything has flaws, and Optimistic Developer: The glass is half full given enough time I can prove it Pessimistic Tester: The glass is twice as big as required Optimistic Developer: Of course it will work Pessimistic Tester: It might work, but probably Optimistic Developer: This code hasn’t yet been won’t tested. It’s not known if it has any bugs Pessimistic Tester: This code hasn’t yet been Optimistic Developer: One last bug fix, and we tested. It’s not known if it actually works can ship tomorrow Pessimistic Tester: Fixing this one bug will likely Optimistic Developer: We are 90% done lead to two more Pessimistic Tester: We don’t know when we’ll be done, if ever Optimistic Developer: Stop finding bugs, or we’ll never be done Optimistic Developer: We will refactor the code Pessimistic Tester: Stop creating bugs, so I can to make it better find them all Pessimistic Tester: They are throwing out the working code and replacing it with an unknown Optimistic Developer: There’s no need for more quantity tests Pessimistic Tester: Let’s just run a few more tests Optimistic Developer: to be sure I only changed one line of code Pessimistic Tester: Optimistic Developer: There is no I in TEAM The entire system must be retested Pessimistic Tester: We can’t spell BUGS without U “It works on my machine” Pigs might fly.
  18. 18. Optimistic Developer: That’s an “undocumented Optimistic Developer: That will never happen in feature” Production Pessimistic Tester: That’s a bug Pessimistic Tester: Never is a long time Optimistic Developer: I like to build things Optimistic Developer: It works on my machine Pessimistic Tester: I like to break things Pessimistic Tester: Perhaps your machine is the only one where it works? Optimistic Developer: Sure, we can use the Beta Optimistic Developer: The sun’ll come out, version of this component in Production tomorrow... Pessimistic Tester: We should wait until version Pessimistic Tester: Raindrops keep fallin’ on my 2.1 head... Optimistic Developer: Willing to bet that there Optimistic Developer: I’m a Realist are no more bugs Pessimistic Tester: I’m a Realist Pessimistic Tester: Willing to take that bet Source: Optimistic Developer: Let’s slip these changes in now, because I’m starting my vacation tomorrow mistic+Developers,+Pessimistic+Testers.html Pessimistic Tester: Let’s not February 2010 Page 19
  19. 19. blog of the quarter The Added Value of Testers Ewald Roodenrijs How can I as tester deliver an added value for but an important part of the checking, functional my organization? Of course I check that the checking, can de done with model-based testing drawn up requirements and specifications are (at least part of it). Naturally I as a tester have correctly processed in the software and that the a direct involvement in creating the model. I software works correct. But more and more can even add some test cases into the model to around me I see that this checking is rehabilitat- process any issues I think of. As a test designer/ ed. First there was the idea to automate the test architect I can even create the whole test model. execution software, then to outsource the work Model-Based Testing only covers the functional India when the automation didn’t hold up to its part of a system. Other quality attributes should expectations. Then the ‘financial crisis’ arrived. also be checked. A tester should create the test That meant that automation of test executions cases for these attributes. And also evaluations could show us again that it seemed to work and are an important part of checking. I think I have it did. Lately you hear more about Model-Based stated quite a few times how important evalua- Testing, as I wrote in this post. Model-Based tions are. When evaluating there is a clear added Testing takes over part of the test specification to value of testers. Because testers look (very) criti- be automated. What should I do? Where is my cal at documentation. I as a tester can evaluate added value as a tester? Of course Model-Based the documents in a good manner, but the effort Testing shifts the activities of a tester and the au- of evaluations compared to creating test cases is tomation ensures that you can test more, which however much smaller. means that specific parts can still be tested by a tester (with more attention to this). But really, The added value of a tester in checking is: where is my added value? • create models for model-based testing That added value is what testing really is about. • evaluate documents Testing is a combination of checking, exploring • create non-functional test cases and accepting. So what are checking, exploring and accepting? See The W-model and Check, Can a tester accept? Explore and Accept for more details on this. Can I as a tester accept? No! As a tester I’m usu- Is checking an added value? ally not the future user of a product. So I cannot fully assess whether the solution is right for the When I look at the trends and innovations about user (in a UAT). This can only de done by the testing around me, I see that checking is no add- user. Accepting can also be seen as learning to ed value for a tester. This work can be performed work with the software and integrate it into busi- by inexperienced testers, be ness, but also getting acquainted outsourced and even done with the System under Test (SuT). by a computer. Because A testing coordinator can guide the we only check whether the accepting phase, but the real accep- expected results match the tance is done the users. The task of actual results. In specify- a tester is mainly a warning func- ing on what the results tion; the user (client) self provides should be when checking the acceptance. However by good lies perhaps an added value, cooperation (especially in agile proj- The customer is always wrong.
  20. 20. Is exploring the added value for testers? and my testing experience. As a tester I can thus provide an added value to my client when I ex- OK then, exploring. Exploring is something I as plore the software! To test better I need as much a tester can I do! I am an experienced tester and knowledge as possible of a client and its process- therefore have the test knowledge to do so. I can es. Testers should be closer to the clients process- also ask the correct questions to get es (business) rather than the technology. more information about the business And of course specialists are needed that and system. And also I don’t take first know more about certain technology (like response as the best, as a result I in- security en usability experts). Besides our terview people about their knowledge. basic knowledge of testing, we need to A checking tester will not look any have more business knowledge! further then the written down informa- tion. And I also have enough in depth The added value of a tester in exploring knowledge about the business that I’m testing so is: that I know where to expect problems. As a tester I should therefore look for in depth information • create and executes test cases from other about the processes of my client and from there information than that is documented go testing. I can do this with test cases, but also • help the business with testing the business through (a more creative mindset with) explor- processes atory testing. Using this test approach I can show • find those errors not derived from documen- where the system needs to be adjusted, because tation the system doesn’t resolve the problem of the • have technology help in expert work. customer. I use the specifications or requirements as a starting point and then build out the tests Source: http://www.testingthefuture. based on my knowledge of business processes net/2009/11/the-added-value-of-testers/ February 2010 Page 21
  21. 21. Funniest blog Distributed Agile You Want Good, Improvisational The Key to Building Strong Distrib- Agile training? uted Teams by QA Hates You By Yvette Francino You Want Good, Improvisational Agile Training? Everyone is “going Agile” these days. Even though Agile Software Development methodolo- This ain’t it: gies have been around for awhile, there seems to be more and more buzz about them, offering a Laughing. Overcoming embarrassment. Out- plethora of options such as the popular Extreme and-out goofy behavior. These are not normally Programming (XP) and Scrum methodologies. the skills managers seek in their developers. But New variations continue to pop up and many or- some agile development advocates believe these ganizations seem to work in an environment that skills are critical for successful software projects. is kind of a hybrid of Waterfall and Agile, want- ing to maintain the discipline of Waterfall and A growing number of artistically inclined cor- the flexibility of Agile. So what exactly is Agile? porate trainers are promoting the principles of the Agile Manifesto with techniques from acting, A team of 17 technologists got together in Febru- improvisation and other art forms. Such exer- ary, 2001, and authored the Agile Manifesto: cises attempt to prepare software developers for changing requirements and other unexpected We are uncovering better ways of developing occurrences throughout the agile development software by doing it and helping others do it. process. Developers learn better ways to work Through this work we have come to value: together and how to put the team before the • Individuals and interactions over processes and individual. tools • Working software over comprehensive docu- If you want to train them how it really works, mentation you do the same thing I do to train new QA • Customer collaboration over contract negotia- people: You cut the electricity, pull the fire alarm, tion and wait by the stairwell with an old American • Responding to change over following a plan Gladiators padded quarterstaff you bought off of eBay. That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. Anyone who makes it out of the building can sur- vive the ever-changing timelines and predictable, While the various methodologies outline detailed avoidable, but always sudden “emergencies” that, processes aimed at implementing these guide- well, emerge. Anyone who knocks me off my feet lines, the key to success lies in effective commu- or separates me from the quarterstaff gets a field nication, collaboration and teamwork between promotion to Senior Test Engineer. business folks, developers and testers. Because communication, collaboration, and teamwork are Or if you want to simply waste an afternoon, I all more easily accomplished from face-to-face guess you could hire these Agile training consul- time, typically it’s recommended that agile teams tants for some entertainment and then go back to are co-located – not just working at the same work the next day doing it the same way you’ve site, but actually sitting together as they work. always done it. (I’ve heard tales of XP teams being locked up in a conference room together until they finished Source: a project, though the person that told me that tends to exaggerate. I’m sure the custodian let press/2009/02/13/you-want-good-improvisa- them out for biological needs.) tional-agile-training/ I would never have thought of that.
  22. 22. for example is a Wall Chart where various team members use sticky notes placed on a white- board or chart that is split into categories. Team members are able to easily move sticky notes between categories as changes are noted and dis- cussed. Though some may argue you need to be face-to-face for this type of brainstorming event, Agile tools are available that allow for virtual brainstorming. A virtual Wall Chart complete with virtual stickies can be used. This is just one of many tools to facilitate remote collaboration. I would venture to say that today, with all the tools and technologies that are available to us, many of them free of charge, that we can easily find any tool to do the same kind of work that is done face-to-face. Using tools to document our agile processes has the added advantage of allowing us to easily archive our thoughts so they will be available for future discussions or teams. Availability and Convenience of Immediate Communication Another factor in the success of co-located teams is the ability to yell over to your next-door team- mate “Hey, come look at this!”If you have to pick up the phone, or send an email, you are often a lot less likely to ask for help. Sometimes it just takes too much time to explain the problem-du- jour. It’s much easier to show your teammate and With all this emphasis on skills that are more work together on a solution. effective in a co-located environment, is an agile team that is geographically dispersed destined Desktop sharing tools are now available for us to for failure? With current trends of global teams, be able to share our working environment, so we outsourced teams, and telecommuters, it’s not can easily have a “come look at this” type of con- always possible for teams to sit together. The versation with our remote team-member. Tools prospect of flying these people to work together like Instant Messenger Chat allow us to see when for weeks at a time is very difficult and expensive. our teammates are available and easily interrupt With all the tools and technologies that we have them, just like we do with our office neighbour. available to us today, can’t the same things be accomplished in a virtual way? It’s important to look at why face-to-face teamwork seems to be Friendships and Trust more successful and to determine ways to foster those attributes in a virtual world. Perhaps the biggest key to a successful team is due to the friendships that develop amongst the team members. As we get to know one another, Tools we learn who we can trust. We look forward to working together and helping one another, not Depending on your methodology, different just because of the company or the project, but techniques come into play that are more suited for face-to- face brainstorming. One technique, February 2010 Page 23
  23. 23. because we like our friends. We gain a feeling of them your “virtual smiles” in whatever way you camaraderie as we scratch our heads together, can. searching for solutions. We celebrate our wins to- gether, going out for lunch or happy hour, patting We live in a world that allows us to connect to each other on the back at our brilliant collective people any time and any place. We have tools genius. and technologies allowing us to communicate more effectively than ever before. Nothing can So, how can we emulate this on a virtual team? ever replace the value we get from a face-to-face We need to learn to form friendships that are as smiles, but we can do quite a lot to foster strong strong as they are when working together side- communication, collaboration and teamwork. by-side. This means we need to open up more And however you communicate, whether it’s and share a little of our “personal” self with our via email, on the phone, or face-to-face, let your team-mates. We need to connect with them on smile shine through. You are likely to find, not more of a personal level. The social network- only a strong teammate, but another BFF (Best ing tools such as Twitter and FaceBook allow us Friend Forever). to share more of a silly side of ourselves. OK, admittedly, some people take this a little too far. It isn’t necessary to share our dancing-with- the-lampshade-on moments. But we can share photos and videos that are more personal in nature – family photos or photos of the hobbies Yvette enjoys social or activities we do outside of work. When we do this, we get a sense of who a person is, beyond media, blogs about just their professional image. We find out things QA and can be other than our work that we have in common, found on and we form friendships. LinkedIn or Twitter. But uploading our photos and telling our team about ourselves is not enough. As leaders such as Dale Carnegie and Steven Covey taught us, we need to spend more time learning about other people than we spend talking about ourselves. Share of yourself, but engage with others on the team. Call them up. Joke with them. Tell them you appreciate their efforts on the team. Send Why would anyone use that browser?
  24. 24. Do You Have Testing Cred? By Anne-Marie Charrett Cool hey? So how do you go about getting this tester cred? Write Great Bug Reports Why the focus of bug reports? Because, as Cem Kaner describes “Bug reports are what people outside of the testing group will most notice and most remember of your work” . Writing a bug report is not only about mak- ing them clear and reproducible, it’s also about skilled analysis and communicating effectively with other project members. The course challenges us testers to view the ex- ercise of bug reporting a little differently. Instead of “bug reporting”, the course refers to Bug Advocacy, or “Selling Bugs”. Cem gives another great quote: Every tester has a reputation of some sort. It may be that you’re the quiet tester that sits in the “If you want someone to fix your bug, you have corner and gets work done or the loud noisy one to make them want to do it” that’s always got an opinion, but regardless of what you do or don’t do you have a reputation. In the Bug Advocacy course, he also talks about: Rob Lambert wrote about some of the tester types and their reputation in his e-book Tester • Presenting a bug in its strongest (honestly Types. described) light. • Presenting a bug in a way that connects with After completing the AST (Association of Soft- the concerns of stakeholders with influ- ware Testing) online BBST course on Bug Ad- ence—and if one particular stakeholder will vocacy, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best be affected gets the message clearly. type of reputation to have is TESTER CRED- • Communicating so well that your report en- IBILITY. ables good decision making. To me tester credibility is the equivalent of hav- Build influence ing street cred. It’s the X-Factor or Test-Factor. Other tester’s look at you with a bit of awe and Very simply, every time you make a decision you command respect. You’re the Fonz of the around a bug report you affect your tester cred- gang, the Yoda of the Jedi, and the Rizzo of the ibility. Each decision brings in to call your tester pink ladies. judgment. Over time, the decisions that you make will start to have an impact on your cred- Your bug reports are rarely rejected and people ibility in either a good or bad way. listen whenever you express an opinion or idea. Again to quote Cem Kaner: February 2010 Page 25
  25. 25. “Ask yourself what happens to your reputation if Threading. you: • Report every bug, no matter how minor; to By the way, there is a lot more in the BBST Bug make sure no bug is ever missed? Advocacy course, and if this has interest to you • Report only the serious problems (the “good why not enroll yourself onto the four-week online bugs”)? course? You can find more information at The • Fully analyze each bug? Association of Software Testing. The site’s going • Only lightly analyze bugs? through an upgrade at the moment, but you can • Insist that every bug get fixed? still register your interest. The comprehensibility of your reports and the The information for this article was sourced from extent and skill of your analysis will also have a the Bug Advocacy 2008 course provided by the substantial impact on your credibility.” Association of Software Testing. Many thanks to all the instructors: Cem Kaner, Doug Hoffman, A lovely example of a tester who has earned Adriano Comi, and Brett Leonard. good tester credibility is by a Microsoft tester named Ricky Kurniawan. He describes in his Anne-Marie Charrett is an independent post how he pursued a multi threaded issue that software test consultant at Testing Times could only be reproduced on his machine. You and blogs at Maverick Tester. can read the full story here A Bug Story: Multi- Are you really going to test for accessibility?
  26. 26. Twitter Conversation By @skim and @qualityfrog qualityfrog: @skim I got the strangest looks of skim: @QualityFrog we call them iterations, disgust and annoyances once when I told a group surely we’re agile ;-) that “doing scrum” did not make them Agile. qualityfrog: @skim Waterfall was intended to be qualityfrog: @skim They were doing scrum iterative too. :) poorly with CMM thinking. Defined tester role as quality cop. BDUF test plans. Repeatability was skim: @QualityFrog but how does the water get king. back up? qualityfrog: @skim You carry the part of the skim: @QualityFrog absolutely. it would’ve been water that needs fixing or refining back up to the nice if we talked about this change as a group design phase. In leaky buckets? :) and talk about things that still need improvement skim: @QualityFrog that’s just grand... ;-) skim: @QualityFrog ...but *the person above* did leave his door open and i plan to take the op- qualityfrog: @skim Or maybe the water gets hot portunity to speak enough that it evaporates forms clouds that rain back down on the top. :) qualityfrog: @skim They had separate dev and QA and management panels deciding how to skim: @QualityFrog so we’ll get rained on for a implement Agile. Eventually learned to work period of time... together. qualityfrog: @skim It’s about as enjoyable as liv- skim: @QualityFrog we just adopted the shorter ing in a sauna. ;) release cycles and called it agile skim: @QualityFrog conclusion: working in a skim: @QualityFrog anything “to deliver faster waterfall env is like living in a sauna with leaky and more efficient” buckets qualityfrog: @skim A smaller hamster wheel does Follow @skim and @QualityFrog on Twitter. not make one agile. :D February 2010 Page 27
  27. 27. Conversation “Starting out as a new tester” with Rob Lambert, simon morley, Skim (aka Steve K) Hello Pair Testing testing, BT/UT/CT (basic/ unit/component test), FT Simon: Hi. Here’s my first Steve K: I also think pair (Functional Testing) & ST (Sys- wave... testing is a good introduction tem Test - including non-func- to testing with emphasis on tional testing) and also include Starting out as a new tester - exploratory/checklist style test- domain-specific areas that the like the context-driven school ing. I think it might be danger- development unit needs - may- says there are no best practices ous to jump too quickly into be some tool-specific knowl- - the same is true about get- using automation tools right edge, protocol-specific (eg ting into testing or becoming a off the bat. First, learn what HTTP, IP, XCAP, etc, etc) - All tester - there are no best ways testing is about - allow the of these can be broken down how to do it... “new tester” tester to flex his/ and expanded depending on her mind, then later down the the unit - boundary-value, Everyone is different, what road, he/she can be exposed to combinatorial, use-case valida- works for one might not work automation checking. tion etc, etc Automation for someone else. This is a very incomplete list Steve K: I agree. There is but already it’s getting com- not only one way to get into Simon: Yep, avoid the auto- plicated - so it makes sense for testing. The approach will vary mation voodoo to start with- If both the new employee and depending on the environ- the company has some struc- employer to have a way of ment, people, etc. tured “training” even better keeping track of some of the - “testing” is such a wide open basics - one of the first review Simon: I think on-the-job- field that it can be overwhelm- times it could be a task of the training can sometimes be the ing to start with. new tester to suggest what’s new tester’s first intro to pair- missing from his checklist (after testing (actually sitting along- Structured training isn’t 2-3 months?) – so that the side someone and working thru necessarily courses but maybe guide is personalised.. a problem). Unfortunately for more of a checklist/guide of some it might also be their last concepts and types of testing Checklist/exploratory: Yes experience... to experience - this probably agree completely. A very good helps both the new tester and approach (this works for not- For me, the biggest benefit for the employer - have some sort new testers also) is to take a the new tester is getting their of record of types that have scripted test (not necessarily hands on a real problem - been covered and what hasn’t automated) and ask the tester actually practising. They can been covered. Some project if this test is still relevant, does make mistakes as well as find iterations might need more it miss anything, where/how bugs in the app. Some bugs of one type than another - it could it be improved - and if it might be due to mishandling/ might be a GUI change, or is sufficient, why is it sufficient? configuration due to them input field modification, some being new - but this is all good network protocol introduction, Here the mentor needs to be learning sources. etc, etc helping/pushing the new tester to think about what’s going on So the checklist might start on and why... a high level Static Analysis/ Is it an issue?
  28. 28. I can’t think of an environ- points. ;-)) - but let’s just dive in and ment where not jumping in see what happens. I’ll pick up with some OJT is not a good Simon: Yes, faults and mis- some tips by observing how thing - obviously I’m not in- takes (whether in the app or others do it - and see if they cluding any life-critical systems made by the tester) are es- can be applied to me (or used here - although it could still sential for learning. I know I by me). “Waving” seems to be work there. The new tester will wouldn’t have learnt so much a low cost or easy “entry-level” just have their work checked about the systems I have app so there’s no need to read by their supervisor/mentor/ worked on at the start if they a manual or whatever - espe- helper more... were fault-free. cially since the look’n’feel is similar to parts of other apps OJT? Interesting about alpha/beta and there are parts that are in- testers - like you say some tuitive - but that doesn’t mean want to be first in line or (early I’m doing it “right” or that I’m Steve K: What is OJT? adopters as I think marketing making the most of it.... peeps classify them) but they Simon: OJT: On-the-Job- don’t always want to be find- Now back to testing - there’s a Training ing the problems. Aren’t some bit of this that’s an analogy to more “fair-weather alpha/ learning about testing... Simon: So, what are the pre- beta testers” (only want it if it requisites, what’s needed for a works - it’s a kudos thing)? But, Simon: So for a new tester, new tester to get going? Curi- I think in general when you’re what are good resources on- osity, willingness to learn, not employed to be testing then line? Are some starting points being afraid of making mis- you have to want it, otherwise better than others? Can some takes??? Are these good start- it’s not going to work. places be more intimidating ing points before later making than others? more “academic” demands Simon: Think about courses about critical thinking/reason- and learning new topics - some Simon: On-line resources / ing? people want to do a course/ learning aid ? Are there some tutorial before practising, some that are better than others? Steve K: I think by default want to get a feel of a new everyone has a level of curi- topic “hands-on” before taking What about twitter? This osity and eagerness to break a course and some don’t want seems to have a life of its own. software. It’s quite interest- the course but want some “on- I wouldn’t recommend it for a ing to see how many people the-job” training - then there new tester (or any tester re- want to sign up for alpha/beta are others that just want to try ally) as a resource for learning software to get the chance to it for themselves, let it sink in about articles. try out new products/services and see what they make of it - and perhaps a bonus to be able “so called exploring...” to brag about it. I think “new tester” testers should be pas- The thing is that for some top- sionate, willing to learn, and ics/areas one type will work definitely not be afraid of mak- for someone and then for a ing mistakes (as you’ve men- new topic maybe a different tioned). While some people method is better for that same Rob: For me Twitter has think failing is a bad thing, it’s person... opened up a whole new hive of part of the growing pains to contacts and feeds where I get become a better tester. We’re Take “Google wave” - I’ve loads of new articles/ideas and human after all. no idea if I’m doing this in a concepts. I’m not sure I would good way or not (I’m gonna have come across these had it I think those are good starting stop/pause soon for fear of not been for Twitter. this turning into a monologue February 2010 Page 29
  29. 29. Simon: True, twitter is a great edgeable in some area - if a friendly response - usually resource - yes, there’s things you’re lucky and online they’ll many responses with lots of I wouldn’t have come across usually respond - so there is a different aspects... otherwise. But I was thinking sense of availability there. This Luck Factor from a new tester’s perspective works in other forums also - - it could be overwhelming / generally testers of all levels information overload. are approachable. But, as with most things I’d Simon: Something that just recommend a “suck it and see” Rob: This is such a good occurred to me - there’s a approach - find out yourself benefit of Twitter. The ability “luck” factor for the new tester what you’re comfortable with. to interact and chat (albeit it also: luck that they begin in a in small sentences) with people “good” work environment that Rob: Yeah. New testers could you would never normally supports and encourages them. become swamped by the mass have been in touch with is fab] Can be intimidating to come of noise. Takes a while to filter in and think that you should Blogs it out before it starts to make be “questioning” and trying to sense. make sense of everything that the unit/org is producing/de- Steve K: I agree with the both Simon: Blogs? It’s hard to veloping - especially if there’s of you. Twitter has opened up recommend this as a way of some developers that aren’t too an opportunity to listen and learning about testing - many happy with questioning from a talk to other passionate testers/ times they can be “parts of new tester... Thoughts?] developers and insurmount- conversations/topics” able amount of information in Rob: Couldn’t agree more. In articles, blogs, presentations, Rob: Agreed. Blogs are often fact some testers can get stuck etc. The signal-to-noise ratio is very personal, often incredibly in a “bad” environment and definitely overwhelmingly for a misleading and sometimes very not know that “better” ones new tester. Once the new tester political. Saying that though, exist. It pays to move roles familiarizes test concepts, he/ they are invaluable sources of every so often. Keeps your she can start diving into the answers to questions skills sharp and builds on your testing world in Twitter. experience. After all, no two Simon: Q&A and discus- companies, methodologies or But where it is powerful (but sion forums are a good way products are the same. still a bit random) is that you in - generally questions can can contact someone who be fired off and usually get wrote an article or is knowl- Do you want to take part in a discussion to appear here in the magazine? Email rob@softwaretestingclub. Testers are picky.
  30. 30. A Testing Maze The Drama Queen has kicked up a fuss. Again. “Look, look, it’s green” she mocks. But is the joke on her? She cannot reproduce the bug! Can you help her find the green bug(ger)?! Best solution uploaded to Flickr and tagged with “softwaretestingclub” wins a copy of Beautiful Testing*. (* or equivalent in Amazon Vouchers) February 2010 Page 31