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Talking About Testing

Frequently, both online and in face-to-fact conversations, testers express reservations to me about making a clear distinction between testing and checking when talking to others. It’s true: “test” is an overloaded word. In some contexts, it refers to a heuristic process: evaluating a product by learning about it through experiencing, exploring and experimenting; that’s what testers refer to when they’re talking about testing, and that’s how we describe it in … Read more

Testing Deep and Shallow (3): Determination

After almost a year of the blog lying fallow, it’s time to continue the series on Testing Deep and Shallow that begins here. (Shallow testing (not an insult!) is testing that has a chance of finding every easy bug. Deep testing maximizes the chance of finding every elusive bug that matters.) Premise 6 of Rapid Software Testing is about cost and value. “We commit to performing credible, cost-effective testing, and … Read more

Testing Deep and Shallow (2): “Shallow” is a feature, not an insult!

When we talk about deep and shallow testing in the Rapid Software Testing namespace, some people might assume that we mean “deep testing” is good and decent and honourable, and that we mean “shallow” to be an insult. But we don’t. “Shallow” is not an insult. Depth and shallowness are ways of talking about the thoroughness of testing, but they’re not assessments of its value. The value or quality or … Read more

Testing Deep and Shallow (1): Coverage

Many years ago, I went on a quest. “Coverage” seemed to be an important word in testing, but it began to occur to me that I had been thinking about it in a vague, hand-wavey kind of way. I sensed that I was not alone in that. I wanted to know what people meant by coverage. I wanted to know what I meant by coverage. In the Rapid Software Testing … Read more

Alternatives to “Manual Testing”: Experiential, Attended, Exploratory

This is an extension on a long Twitter thread from a while back that made its way to LinkedIn, but not to my blog. No one ever sits in front of a computer and accidentally compiles a working program, so people know — intuitively and correctly — that programming must be hard. But almost anyone can sit in front of a computer and stumble over bugs, so people believe — … Read more

“Manual Testing”: What’s the Problem?

I used to speak at conferences. For the HUSTEF 2020 conference, I had intended to present a talk called “What’s Wrong with Manual Testing?” In the age of COVID, we’ve all had to turn into movie makers, so instead of delivering a speech, I delivered a video instead. After I had proposed the talk, and it was accepted, I went through a lot of reflection on what the big deal … Read more

Expected Results

Klára Jánová is a dedicated tester who studies and practices and advocates Rapid Software Testing. Recently, on LinkedIn, she said: I might EXPECT something to happen. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I WANT IT/DESIRE for IT to happen. I even may want it to happen, but it not happening doesn’t have to automatically mean that there’s a problem. The point of this post: no more “expected results” in the … Read more

“Why Didn’t We Catch This in QA?”

My good friend Keith Klain recently posted this on LinkedIn: “Why didn’t we catch this in QA” might possibly be the most psychologically terrorizing and dysfunctional software testing culture an organization can have. I’ve seen it literally destroy good people and careers. It flies in the face of systems thinking, complexity of failure, risk management, and just about everything we know about the psychology involved in testing, but the bully … Read more

Breaking the Test Case Addiction (Part 10)

This post serves two purposes. It is yet another installation in The Series That Ate My Blog; and it’s a kind of personal exploration of work in progress on the Rapid Software Testing Guide to Test Reporting. Your feedback and questions on this post will help to inform the second project, so I welcome your comments. As a tester, your mission is to evaluate the product and report on its … Read more

I Represent the User! And We All Do

As a tester, I try to represent the interests of users. Saying the user, in the singular, feels like a trap to me. There are usually lots of users, and they tend to have diverse and sometimes competing interests. I’d like to represent and highlight the interests of users that might have been forgotten or overlooked. There’s another trap, though. As Cem Kaner has pointed out, it’s worth remembering that … Read more