Testing, Now More Than Ever

To all managers and executives: despite how it’s in fashion these days, it’s not a good time to be laying off testers, or to be leaving them unprepared and untrained. Software can be wonderful. It can help us with all kinds of stuff, unimaginably quickly and at enormous scale. This sounds very appealing. Skilled testers, at least, have always known that we must treat output from machinery with appropriate skepticism … Read more

The Real Requirements

One of the reasons that software development and testing are screwed up is because people often name things carelessly. Jerry Weinberg was fond of pointing out that “floating point” was the kind of math where the decimal point stayed in the same place, where in “fixed point”, the decimal point moves around.  People talk about “serverless computing”, when they really mean “computing using someone else’s servers”. “No-code testing tools”… well, … Read more

Respect for Our Clients

For a long time, I’ve suggested that testing should focus on product problems that pose risk to the business. That remains true, but lately I’m thinking there’s another consideration. For instance: yesterday, I accepted an invitation for an online meeting from a potential client. The invitation contained a link to a Microsoft Teams meeting. (If you know where this is going, and find it too painful, just skip to the … Read more

Risk in the Wild

In several of our Rapid Software Testing classes, for the last four years at least, these three slides have part of our materials on risk: And then what do you know?! This happened. (“Taylor Swift Crashes Ticketmaster as Fans Scoop Up Presale Tickets”; here’s the link.) And this happened too… (“Justice Dept. is Said to Investigate Ticketmaster’s Parent Company”) Here’s the link to that. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Ask Me Anything with Michael Bolton

QA ATL 2020 Day 2.5 From the YouTube description… Too often, conference sessions don’t allow enough time for questions and answers. For QA ATL, Michael Bolton will deliver a conference session that is nothing but questions and answers. Michael invites you to ask him anything about topics near and dear to him, including (but not limited to) developing test strategy, recognizing problems in products, thinking critically, analyzing risk, applying tools, … Read more

Exploratory Testing on an API? (Part 4)

As promised, (at last!) here are some follow-up notes on previous installments in the series that starts here. Let’s revisit the original question: Do you perform any exploratory testing on APIs? How do you do it? To review: there’s a problem with the question. Asking about “exploratory testing” is a little like asking about “vegetarian cauliflower”, “carbon-based human beings”, or “metallic copper”. Testing is fundamentally exploratory. Testing is an attempt … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (36): Positive, Negative, and Sympathetic Testing

In Rapid Software Testing, a “positive test” is one that honours every required and explicitly declared condition or factor for a desired outcome. A “negative test” is one that violates (or dishonours, disrespects, ignores, omits, undermines…) at least one required and explicitly declared condition. That said, we don’t talk very much about positive and negative testing. We do talk about “sympathetic testing“, a closely related idea named by Cem Kaner. … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (35): Make Things Visible

I hear a lot from testers who discover problems late in development, and who get grief for bringing them up. On one level, the complaints are baseless, like holding an investigate journalist responsible for a corrupt government. On the other hand, there’s a way for testers to anticipate bad news and reduce the surprises. Try producing a product coverage outline and a risk list. A product coverage outline is an … Read more

Drop the Crutches

This post is adapted from a recent blast of tweets. You may find answers to some of your questions in the links; as usual, questions and comments are welcome. Update, 2017-01-07: In response to a couple of people asking, here’s how I’m thinking of “test case” for the purposes of this post: Test cases are formally structured, specific, proceduralized, explicit, documented, and largely confirmatory test ideas. And, often, excessively so. … Read more

The Honest Manual Writer Heuristic

Want a quick idea for a burst of activity that will reveal both bugs and opportunities for further exploration? Play “Honest Manual Writer”. Here’s how it works: imagine you’re the world’s most organized, most thorough, and—above all—most honest documentation writer. Your client has assigned you to write a user manual, including both reference and tutorial material, that describes the product or a particular feature of it. The catch is that, … Read more