Breaking the Test Case Addiction (Part 8)

Throughout this series, we’ve been looking at an an alternative to artifact-based approaches to performing and accounting for testing: an activity-based approach. Frieda, my coaching client, and I had been discussing how to manage testing without dependence on formalized, scripted, procedural test cases. Part of any approach to making work accountable is communication between a manager or test lead and the person who had done the work. In session-based test … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (27): Saving Time

Instead of studying and learning from every bug, you can save a lot of time by counting and aggregating bug reports. That’s a good thing in its way, because if you don’t study and learn from every bug, you’ll need all the time you can get to deal with problems that seem to keep happening over and over again.

Where Does All That Time Go?

It had been a long day, so a few of the fellows from the class agreed to meet a restaurant downtown. The main courses had been cleared off the table, some beer had been delivered, and we were waiting for dessert. Pedro (not his real name) was complaining, again, about how much time he had to spend doing administrivial tasks—meetings, filling out forms, time sheets, requisitions, and the like. “Everything … Read more

Time, Coverage, and Maps

Over the last few years, people have become increasingly enthusiastic about the idea of mind mapping to help them describe or illustrate or otherwise consider test coverage. For me, Darren McMillan was the one who really got the ball rolling here, here, and here. More recently there have been other examples to present coverage ideas. Colleague Adam Goucher has weighed in here. But there’s another thing you can do, something … Read more

Braiding The Stories (Test Reporting Part 2)

We were in the middle of a testing exercise at the Amplifying Your Effectiveness conference in 2005. I was assisting James Bach in a workshop that he was leading on testing. He presented the group with a mysterious application written by James Lyndsay—an early version of one of the Black Box Test Machines. “How many test cases would you need to test this application?” he asked. Just then Jerry Weinberg … Read more

What Exploratory Testing Is Not (Part 2): After-Everything-Else Testing

Exploratory testing is not “after-everything-else-is-done” testing. Exploratory testing can (and does) take place at any stage of testing or development. Indeed, TDD (test-driven development) is a form of exploratory development. TDD happens in loops, in which the programmer develops a check, then develops the code to make the check pass (along with all of the previous checks), then fixes any problems that she has discovered, and then loops back to … Read more

Should Testers Play Planning Poker?

My colleague and friend Eric Jacobson, who recently (as I write) did a bang-up job on his first conference presentation at STAR West 2011, asks a question in response to this blog post from 2006. (I like it when people reflect on an issue for a few years.) Eric asks: You are suggesting it may not make sense for testers to give time-based estimates to their teams, but what about … Read more

Testing: Difficult or Time-Consuming?

In my recent blog post, Testing Problems Are Test Results, I noted a question that we might ask about people’s perceptions of testing itself: Does someone perceive testing to be difficult or time-consuming? Who? What’s the basis for that perception? What assumptions underlie it? The answer to that question may provide important clues to the way people think about testing, which in turn influences the cost and value of testing. … Read more