Test Framing

A few months ago, James Bach introduced me to the idea of test framing. He identified it as a testing skill, and did some work in developing the concept by field-testing it with some of his online students. We’ve been refining it lately. I’ll be giving a brief talk on it at the Kitchener-Waterloo Software Quality Association on Thursday, September 30, 2010, and I’ll be leading a half-day workshop on … Read more

Gaming the Tests

Let’s imagine, for a second, that you had a political problem at work. Your CEO has promised his wife that their feckless son Ambrose, having flunked his university entrance exams, will be given a job at your firm this fall. Company policy is strict: in order to prevent charges of nepotism, anyone holding a job must be qualified for it. You know, from having met him at last year’s Christmas … Read more

Why Exploratory? Isn’t It All Just Testing?

The post “Exploratory Testing and Review” continues to prompt comments whose responses, I think, are worthy of their own posts. Thank you to Parthi, who provides some thoughtful comments and questions. I always wondered and in attempted to see the difference between the Exploratory testing that you are talking about and the testing that I am doing. Unlike the rest of the commenter’s, this post made this question all the … Read more

Can Exploratory Testing Be Automated?

In a comment on the previous post, Rahul asks, One doubt which is lingering in my mind for quite sometime now, “Can exploratory testing be automated?” There are (at least) two ways to interpret and answer that question. Let’s look first at answering the literal version of the question, by looking at Cem Kaner’s definition of exploratory testing: Exploratory software testing is a style of software testing that emphasizes the … Read more

Exploratory Testing and Review

The following is a lightly-edited version of something that I wrote on the software-testing mailing list, based on a misapprehension that we who advocate exploratory testing suggest that review or other forms of testing should be dropped. Exploratory testing was, for many years, described as “simultaneous test design, test execution, and learning”. In 2006, a few of us who have been practising and studying exploratory testing got together to exchange … Read more

Encouraging Programmers to be Testers

A colleague wrote to me recently and asked about a problem that he’s had in hiring. He says… The kind of test engineers we’re looking for are ones that can think their way around a system and look for all the ways that things can go wrong (pretty standard, so far), and then code up a tool or system that can automatically verify that those things haven’t gone wrong (a … Read more

Done, The Relative Rule, and The Unsettling Rule

The Agile community (to the degree that such a thing exists at all; it’s a little like talking about “the software industry”) appears to me to be really confused about what “done” means. Whatever “done” means, it’s subject to the Relative Rule. I coined the Relative Rule, inspired by Jerry Weinberg‘s definition of quality (“quality is value to some person(s)”). The Relative Rule goes like this: For any abstract X, … Read more

The Motive for Metaphor

There’s a mildly rollicking little discussion going on the in the Software Testing Club at the moment, in which Rob Lambert observes, “I’ve seen a couple of conversations recently where people are talking about red, green and yellow box testing.” Rob then asks “There’s the obvious black and white. How many more are there?” (For what it’s worth, I’ve already made some comments about a related question here.) At one … Read more