Challenges and Legibility

Lately, James Bach and I have been issuing challenges to some of our colleagues on Twitter, typically based on something they’ve said or observed. I think James would agree that the results have been very exciting. In our community, people build credibility by responding to challenges and probing the issues more deeply, and it’s been tremendous to see how some of them have risen to the challenge. For me, recent … 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

Heuristics and Leadership

In a recent blog post, James Bach discusses the essence of heuristics. A heuristic is a fallible method for solving a problem or making a decision. When used as an adjective, “heuristic” means fallible and conducive to learning. James ends the post by introducing a number of questions in order to test whether someone is teaching you a heuristic effectively. Meeta Prakash, in the comments, remarks “Your questions sound so … Read more

A Transpection Session: Inputs and Expected Results

A transpection is a dialog for learning. James Bach describes it here. Transpection is a technique we use a lot to refine ideas for presentations, for articles, for our course, or for our own understanding. Sometimes it’s all of them put together. Transpective sessions with James have led me sharpen ideas and to do work of which I’m very proud—on test coverage, for example (articles here, here, and here). Sometimes … Read more

Why We Do Scenario Testing

Last night I booked a hotel room using a Web-based discount travel service. The service’s particular shtick is that, in exchange for a heavy discount, you don’t get to know the name of the airline, hotel, or car company until you pay for the reservation. (Apparently the vendors are loath to admit that they’re offering these huge discounts—until they’ve received the cash; then they’re okay with the secret getting out.) … Read more

Looping and Branching in Exploratory Testing

In the interview with the Coding QA guys that was the subject of my last post, James Bach refers exploratory testing as parallel learning test design, test execution and learning, and said that exploratory approaches are epitomized by loops. Where do loops happen in exploratory testing? In fact, exploratory testing includes both looping and branching. When we’re testing in an exploratory way, we may branch away from the current path … Read more

When Do We Stop a Test?

Several years ago, around the time I started teaching Rapid Software Testing, my co-author James Bach recorded a video to demonstrate rapid stress testing. In this case, the approach involved throwing an overwhelming amount of data at an application’s wizard, essentially getting the application to stress itself out. The video goes on for almost six minutes. About halfway through, James asks, “You might be asking why I don’t stop now. … Read more

What Counts? Redux

In my December 2007 Test Connections column in Better Software, I discussed the problem of counting bugs, test cases, and other things that are mind-stuff, rather than physically constructed objects. I gave a number of examples, but I now have another compelling one. I got the same Christmas gift—Steven Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought—from both my mother and my brother-in-law. (I guess they have me figured out.) In Chapter One, … Read more

The White Glove Heuristic and The "Unless…" Heuristic

Part of the Rapid Software Testing philosophy involves reducing waste wherever possible. For many organizations, documentation is an area where we might want to cut the clutter. It’s not that documentation is valueless, but every minute that we spend on documentation is a minute that we can’t spend on any other activity. Thus the value of the documentation has to be compared not only to its own cost, but to … Read more