2013 in review

Happy New Year to all my readers… 🙂

I should have wrote more, and I’m the first one to acknowledge that 😦 Hoping for a better “writing” 2014!

Enjoy the party, please Do Not Drink and Drive!

And if you are still reading, have a peak at the WordPress annual report for my Blog!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Exploratory Testing is all about contexts and learning…

A couple of days ago, one of the members from another team pinged me on Skype and shoot this question.
Do you have a template for Exploratory testing?
I was a little surprised and asked her what she meant by an “exploratory testing template” and whether she could give an example. The response surprised me even further..
I was asking for sample exploratory test cases. Do you have a sheet of test cases to run exploratory testing?
I was a bit taken aback by her question and replied:
“Exploratory testing means there are no test cases :)”
She: One of our ex-colleagues wants to track sanity and exploratory testing in his new company. He wants some templates for this purpose
Me: You won’t do exploratory testing with a predefined set of test case templates. I’m going to hit you if you ask for sample test case templates to perform exploratory testing! (Angry Smiley). If you want to track exploratory testing, follow Session Based Test Management. I can share some links to point you there.
She: What about Sanity then?
Me: I don’t know Sanity Testing 😛 If my understanding is correct, you just check whether the app is fit for further rigorous testing.
She: What about tracking it?
Me: It would be better for him to identify the happy paths and perform them on the application he is testing. Put them in an Excel and mark Pass/Fail. I’ve never really done that so can’t comment on the effectiveness. Our <a common friend’s name> has done something like that for her project, so she would be able to provide more insight.
She now tries to send me an XLS but cancels it before I accept the file transfer.
Me: What is that Template you just tried to send? Send it again pls.
She: Nooo! You are going to hit me!
Me: No No! I want to correct you if you are doing it wrong!
She: Okay! (sends the file again)
I check the file – It is a simple XLS, with ID, Test and Pass/Fail Column.
Me: Well, that is a good template to start with – just remove the Pass/Fail column 🙂
She: Then how we will track pass/fail?
Me: You have to understand that exploratory testing or testing to be precise is not solely intended to find defects.. We are actually finding information about the product we are testing – in other words we are sort of learning about the product while doing exploratory testing. Like, what will it do when we perform this action? what if I hit enter without placing the focus on a specific button.. so on.. So it is not necessary that Pass or Fail will be there. If there are obvious failures like error pages – mark them in Red, simple 🙂
She: Okay! got it! That means we will do exploratory for learning purpose right? Then why leads asked us to do a exploratory during release time?
Me: Because they have not yet understood the term exploratory testing. if you look at the explanation I gave above – consider this:
When are we doing a new release? – when there are new features, bug fixes or the like. That means there are some new things to learn in that application. We do exploratory testing as they say and we *might* find defects. It is perfectly all right if we don’t find them as well – it could mean that the new features are implemented well and we couldn’t find any problem in the contexts we tried. However, it doesn’t mean that the product could be defect free! There might be some contexts where the product can fail as well. But the point to note is –  every exploratory testing session gives more information (learning) to you 🙂

She: Its interesting 🙂

Me: If you do not have much work now, do read the contents of the following package. Will be more clear.

<Sends her a zip file consists of SBTM PDFs and Rapid Reporter>

Me: I cant give more clearer info than this package 🙂 There is a little tool in there as well – called Rapid reporter. it will be helpful to create exploratory testing notes in CSV format. So it is easy to modify in excel. it can track time as well. Problem solved. 🙂

She: Very much solved! 🙂

New year delight!

The new year is just keeps getting better for the tester in me! First, a Testing Circus Interview and then  a contest win!

You can read my interview in Testing Circus January edition here (PDF Download). Don’t forget to check out some other great articles in the Magazine, especially the one from Ajay Balamurugadas.

The details of the contest are in Test Mile’s Facebook page. You can find the winning entry in the last blog post here. I would like to thank Rahul Verma and the Test Mile team for organising the contest.

Thank you for the support and feedback dear readers. Please keep me enlightened with your valuable feedback going forward!

Together We Cover, Divided We Uncover…

Rahul Verma recently posted an interesting Contest in his Facebook page. Here is the challenge:

Analyze the attached image which is a part of advertisement + awareness campaign by Test Mile.

Together we cover_Divided we uncover

What does the slogan – “Together We Cover. Divided We UnCover” mean to you as a tester? There are various visual clues in the picture as well. We would love to hear how you relate the story of this image.

Write your story to us via email to events@testmile.com. You can as well publish a blog post on your public blog for the story and send us the link to the same at the provided email address.

The last date for sending your submission for the contest is 20th Jan’13. Only one winner would be declared and s/he would be awarded the prize money. The prize would be awarded only to testers in India, although we would love to accept submissions from other testers as well.

Please participate and spread the word!

The following is my humble attempt..

Someone rightly put a definition to the word TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More. This is one of the most exemplary definitions you can find for the word “TEAM” and when it comes to the context of delivering Software projects, you cannot agree more. Although there are many stakeholders involved in a Software Project, the people who develop an application and the people who test the application that is being developed interacts more with the product before delivering it to the customer.

Now look at the picture and caption – you can see two roads, namely Development and Testing; separated by a zip. If we open the zip (furthering the division) we are uncovering a space, which permanently separates the roads, and the roads leads to nowhere or unknown. But what happens if we are closing the zip? The roads comes together, making it a 4 way line (!) which goes to a single direction – yes, towards the sky high!

The image epitomises the fact the “Quality is everyone’s responsibility” – when the team is divided, we are uncovering an open space, a space which might contain a lot of (often) bad information related to quality. This quality related information might be harmful for the organisation, and it will bring a bad reputation to the organisation. Further to this are the conflicts between the teams involved and the blame game.

When the team is together, we are covering the open space of bad information, we have a solid direction towards a common goal and the direction is towards a brighter prospect. This improves the bond between the teams, which in turn produces better understanding and better quality products, improving the organisation’s reputation, in turn improving the profit. In fact, together, the teams are covering for their own well being!

Hope you enjoyed my attempt. Please share your thoughts in the comments..

2012 – the year that was…

One more year passes by…

There are New Year resolutions every year and I had them at the start of 2012 as well. And I am very happy to have achieved some of them. More importantly, I’m really proud to have achieved the following:

  • Successfully completing the BBST Foundations and
  • Attending the RST workshop from James Bach
  • Attending the TestED 2012 Conference

Although I am really happy to see that my blog has readers from 69 countries in the world, has got nearly 2000 views in 2012 (information from the WordPress Year End Statistics), I am not really satisfied with my blogging consistency in the past year, as I’ve written very few posts. I need to correct it this year!

This year also there are resolutions, but I won’t be talking about them – I keep them to myself and try to achieve them. 🙂

Here’s wishing all my readers a great year ahead, with lots of learning and happy testing! Enjoy!

Test-ED 2012

The first week of December 2012 was just awesome! I got a chance to attend the RST Workshop (experience report can be read here and here) and then attended my first testing conference, the Test-ED 2012. I missed out on some very good conference like Bug-De-Bug because of my tight project schedules, but luckily this one was right the next day after the RST workshop and it helped! 🙂

Without much ado – Test-ED 2012 was just fantastic. I met many people in person who where only Twitter followers or Facebook friends! It was great to meet Ajay Balamurugadas, Justin Hunter, Savita Munde, Ravi Suriya, Sudhamshu Rao to name a few 🙂 The essence of the conference itself was to bring testers together and it worked like a charm.

The facilities were superb, the venue (MLR Convention Centre, Bangalore), the food and the hospitality of the Moolya team (especially DS and Pari) made it a truly wonderful day to remember 🙂

About the speakers – so much has been written about the conference by Mohit here and by Ajay here. I was Tweeting away live throughout the conference  – you can find my Tweets here. (Sorry about not providing the  hash tag search results – they does not seem to work now :()

James Bach on The Rise of the Thinking Indian Tester

It was fascinating to see the Master relating the Indian History towards testing. There were verses from Bhagawad Gita, Panchatantra, Tenali Raman, Tirukkural and many others. It was a proud moment as an Indian to sit in the audience and see the master praising our culture with words like “Indian culture has a history of cleverness.” James also spoke about “Maya” (illusion vs reality), Indian logic, dharma, diversity, joint families, patience – ideas that excites him from the Indian Culture.

The live recording was on all this time, so I hope Moolya Testing will provide us with the videos of all the talks at TestED 2012 🙂 (Hello Moolya, are you listening?)

Rahul Verma on The Death of a Test Case

This was one of the most humble talks I’ve ever seen about testing. You have to see it to realise that. One thing that stands out from Rahul’s speech – “There are no experts in the world, we all are learners at different stages”

Pradeep Soundararajan on Test Coverage Fist and Risk Informer Fist

He is our big brother, the big Panda for us all! and it is a treat to watch him speak about testing in his scintillating style. To top it all, here comes a testing talk with a martial art theme and a background score. How about that? 🙂

There where short EdTalks on Maps Mayhem by Justin Hunter, Continuous Deployment by Manoj Kumar and a very motivating little talk from Ramit Manohar.

I had to catch the bus back home so I missed the Open Season of TestED12. But this was a grand testing conference and I enjoyed every moment of it. Waiting for the next one!

It would be a crime not to mention the brilliant performance from our lovable host Sunil Kumar. Hey, buddy! You just rocked 🙂

Rapid Software Testing Workshop – Day 2

The day started much the same as Day 1. Here is the mindmap!

RST Day 2

The mysterious sphere is one of the most challenging exercises that you can come across. The Master uses it as an exercise to interview testers. Soon he was talking about the expected results, the Triangle exercise, MIPing, the importance of modelling, focus and defocus heuristics, the elliptical test team model etc.

The second session of the morning covered topics about matrices and bug counts and SBTM. Eventhough I had used SBTM in one of my earlier projects at work, I was not using it in the correct way as taught by James and Jon. I came to know some new things about SBTM, particularly about Survey Sessions, Analysis Sessions and Deep Coverage Sessions.

Then came more info about Exploratory testing and some very good examples on Scripted vs Exploratory testing, where James also mentioned about few more tools like Random Number Generator which can aid our testing.

The final part was the most awesome – the Dice Game! I have read about how challenging this exercise could be from former attendees of the workshop. But the details about the exercise was unknown to me. Myself and two others (Kalpana and Balaji) were in one table and we started out on the exercise. It took us some time to figure out the game itself. All this time the Master was roaming around different tables and making everyone confused! And it took only a very short time for the place to become chaos 🙂 Every team was trying out different things and after a while, one of the ladies solved it to an extent (its a pity that I can’t remember her name). Our team solved only the first part of it 😦

One of the most important things that comes to my mind is the word “Sympathetic Testing“, were the tester has to fall in love with the product, exploring what the product can do, without hurting it, without finding bugs.. Fascinating!

It was a really great experience to attend the workshop from the Master himself and the day will be remembered as a special day in my tester life as I got my copy of “Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar” book autographed from the person who wrote it – James Bach. The Master wrote:

“Nandagopal, Thank you for attending my workshop. Now, ask Questions..”

The most important lesson for a tester..

Here I’m back from Bangalore after the workshop and the TestED conference (will be covered in the next blog post!); the experience slowly sinking into my head, wanting to become a better tester more and more..