“Flawed” Analogies

Note: This post contains plagiarism: I’ve stolen some content from an earlier blog post, and from my comments on another. I beg the forgiveness of faithful and diligent readers. Recently I’ve had to deal with some complaints from people on Twitter who seem to have misinterpreted certain analogies. Worse than that, sometimes it seems as though they don’t understand why and how we use analogies at all. Here are some … Read more

A Few Observations on Structure in Testing

On Twitter, Johan Jonasson reported today that he was about to attend a presentation called “Structured Testing vs Exploratory Testing”. This led to a few observations and comments that I’d like to collect here. Over the years, it’s been common for people in our community to mention exploratory testing, only to have someone reply, “Oh, so that’s like unstructured testing, right?” That’s a little like someone refer to a cadenza … Read more

More of What Testers Find, Part II

As a followup to “More of What Testers Find“, here are some more ideas inspired by James Bach’s blog post, What Testers Find. Today we’ll talk about risk. James noted that… Testers also find risks. We notice situations that seem likely to produce bugs. We notice behaviors of the product that look likely to go wrong in important ways, even if we haven’t yet seen that happen. Example: A web … Read more

More of What Testers Find

Damn that James Bach, for publishing his ideas before I had a chance to publish his ideas! Now I’ll have to do even more work! A couple of weeks back, James introduced a few ideas to me about things that testers find in addition to bugs.  He enumerated issues, artifacts, and curios.  The other day I was delighted to find an elaboration of these ideas (to which he added risks … Read more

You Won’t See It Until You Believe It

Not too long ago, I updated my copy of Quicken. I hesitate to say upgrade. I’ve been using Quicken for years, despite the fact that the user interface has never been wonderful and has consistently declined a little in each version. One of these days, I’ll do a 90-minute session and record some observations about the product. But for now, here’s one. The default sort order for transactions in an … Read more

Why Do Some Testers Find The Critical Problems?

Today, someone on Twitter pointed to an interesting blog post by Alan Page of Microsoft. He says: “How do testers determine if a bug is a bug anyone would care about vs. a bug that directly impacts quality (or the customers perception of quality)? (or something in between?) Of course, testers should report anything that may annoy a user, but learning to differentiate between an ‘it could be better’ bug … Read more

One Test Per Requirement

Despite all of the dragons that Agile approaches have attacked successfully, a few still live. As crazy as it is, the idea of one test check per requirement has managed to survive in some quarters. Let’s put aside the fact that neither tests nor requirements are valid units of measurement, and focus on this: If you believe that there should be one test per requirement, then you have to assume … Read more

Context-Free Questions for Testing

In Jerry Weinberg and Don Gause’s Exploring Requirements, there’s a set of context-free questions to ask about a product or service. The authors call them context-free questions, but to me, many of them are more like context-revealing questions. In the Rapid Software Testing class, the participants and the instructors make discoveries courtesy of our exercises and conversations. Here’s a list of questions that come up fairly consistently, or that we … Read more

Project Estimation and Black Swans (Part 5): Test Estimation

In this series of blog posts, I’ve been talking about project estimation. But I’m a tester, and if you’re reading this blog, presumably you’re a tester too, or at least you’re interested in testing. So, all this has might have been interesting for project estimation in general, but what are the implications for test project estimation? Let’s start with the tester’s approach: question the question. Is there ever such a … Read more

Project Estimation and Black Swans (Part 4)

Over the last few posts, exploratory automation has suggested some interesting things about project dynamics and estimation. What might we learn from these little mathematical experiments? The first thing we need to do is to emphasize the fact that we’re playing with numbers here. This exercise can’t offer any real construct validity, since an arbitrary chunk of time combined with a roll of the dice doesn’t match software development in … Read more