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What Is A Tester?

A junior tester relates some of the issues she’s encountering in describing her work. To the people who thinks she “just breaks stuff all day”, here’s what I might reply: It’s not that I don’t just break stuff; I don’t break stuff at all. The stuff that I’ve given to test is what it is; if it’s broken, it was broken when I got it. If I break anything, consider … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (24): You Are Not a Bureaucrat

Here’s a pattern I see fairly often at the end of bug reports: Expected: “Total” field should update and display correct result. Actual: “Total” field updates and displays incorrect result. Come on. When you write a report like that, can you blame people for thinking you’re a little slow? Or that you’re a bureaucrat, and that testing work is mindless paperwork and form-filling? Or perhaps that you’re being condescending? It … Read more

Taking Severity Seriously

There’s a flaw in the way most organizations classify the severity of a bug. Here’s an example from the Elementool Web site (as of 14 January, 2015); I’m sure you’ve seen something like it: Critical: The bug causes a failure of the complete software system, subsystem or a program within the system. High: The bug does not cause a failure, but causes the system to produce incorrect, incomplete, inconsistent results … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (20): More About Testability

A few weeks ago, I posted a Very Short Blog Post on the bare-bones basics of testability. Today, I saw a very good post from Adam Knight talking about telling the testability story. Adam focused, as I did, on intrinsic testability—things in the product itself that it more testable. But testability isn’t just a product attribute. In Heuristics of Testability (material we developed in a session of Rapid Software Testing … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (12): Scripted Testing Depends on Exploratory Testing

People commonly say that exploratory testing “is a luxury” that “we do after we’ve finished our scripted testing”. Yet there is no scripted procedure for developing a script well. To develop a script, we must explore requirements, specifications, or interfaces. This requires us to investigate the product and the information available to us; to interpret them and to seek ambiguity, incompleteness, and inconsistency; to model the scope of the test … Read more

Evaluating Testing: The Qualitative Way

Evaluating Testing: The Qualitative Way | Michael Bolton | STAREAST

For years, testers and managers alike have wrestled with the problem of evaluating software products and testing efforts, often using approaches derived from manufacturing, construction, and physical sciences. These approaches have been only partially successful because software products aren’t physical products. Rather, software is part of a complex web of relationships among programs, computing equipment, networks, and, most importantly, people.

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Counting the Wagons

A member of Linked In asks if “a test case can have multiple scenarios”. The question and the comments (now unreachable via the original link) reinforce, for me, just how unhelpful the notion of the “test case” is. Since I was a tiny kid, I’ve watched trains go by—waiting at level crossings, dashing to the window of my Grade Three classroom, or being dragged by my mother’s grandchildren to the … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (8): Two Big Questions

Too often testing is focused on getting the right answers, rather than asking worthwhile questions and helping to get them answered. There are at least two overarching questions that a tester must ask. While looking directly at the product, at its customers, at the project, at the business, and at the relationships between them, the tester’s first question is “Is there a problem here?” When the tester observes anything looks … Read more

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