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

As Expected

This morning, I started a local backup. Moments later, I started an online backup. I was greeted with this dialog: Looks a little sparse. Unhelpful. But there is that “More details” drop-down to click on. Let’s do that. Ah. Well, that’s more information. But it’s confusing and unhelpful, but I suppose it holds the promise of something more helpful to come. I notice that there’s a URL, but that it’s … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (28): Users vs. Use Cases

As a tester, you’ve probably seen use cases, and they’ve probably informed some of the choices you make about how to test your product or service. (Maybe you’ve based test cases on use cases. I don’t find test cases a very helpful way of framing testing work, but that’s a topic for another post—or for further reading; see page 31. But I digress.) Have you ever noticed that people represented … Read more

Scenarios Ain’t Just Use Cases

How do people use a software product? Some development groups model use through use cases. Typically use cases are expressed in terms of the user performing a set of step-by-step behaviours: 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5. In those groups, testers may create test cases that map directly onto the use cases. Sometimes, that gets called a scenario, and the testing of it is called a scenario … 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