Testing Challenge and X-mas Greetings..

Darren Macmillan blogged about a testing challenge a couple of months back. I found the challenge very interesting and wanted to know how my colleagues will approach it.

Our organisation has an active tester’s forum and a steering group to drive the forum. Being a member of this steering group, I wanted to get the reaction of my fellow group members on the exercise. So the challenge was sent as an Email to our steering group mailing list.

So here’s the challenge once again.. What is inherently wrong with the following form?

Testing Challenge - What is inherently wrong with this form?

What followed was very productive with mails flying all over! 🙂 The following points were noted first (and the most common answers):

SPOILER ALERT: The following discussion has the answers of the challenge. So if you seriously wish to take a dip into the challenge, then please do so and come back later to read this post. And I would suggest you to take a look at Darren’s post and comments. There are a few gems out there!

1. The form has an improper UI – poor layout, the heading is not relevant – ideally it should be payment info.

2. VISA is selected by default – ideally it should be “Select Card”

3. Labels in the form – what is MI? Expiration? It should be Expiry Date..

4. The Address line shows only one line as mandatory – both lines should be mandatory

Okay, the initial reactions are somewhat similar – mostly towards the look and feel. I was also thinking about these cases when I first saw the challenge.

I then got a couple of replies that really showed the functional aspects:

1. No country information and the currency is not shown

2. There is no field for a CVV code, which usually is a mandatory field for Credit Card payments.

I was really happy that at least a couple of people could look through the UI of the form and provide functional aspects of it 🙂 The purpose of the challenge was well served.

Now, you might be wondering how I fared in the challenge. Well, I missed the Country part, but could point out the currency and CVV code cases. I know, I still need to improve on that 🙂

The steering group did presented this challenge to our testers on our fortnightly knowledge sharing session. We divided them into group of three and provided challenges including James’s Series, Lynn Mckee’s spot the difference and couple of other cases and of course Darren’s challenge.

Almost all the groups of testers cracked Lynn’s puzzles. No one cracked James’s puzzle and nobody came up with the “inherrent wrong” of Darren’s puzzle. Most of the responses where pointed at the bad UI as discussed above. One of them even argued that the Country drop-down might be available in the next page since the button is “Continue” rather than “Pay”. I’m not quite sure about that – if that is the case, then there is a usability problem in there 🙂

We are coming towards the end of another year. I’m happy that I’ve started blogging, and proud to be featured and to be a part in the Software Testing Club‘s wonderful endeavour.. Hoping and praying for more good things to come in the next year.. 🙂 and…

Here’s wishing you a very happy Christmas and a wonderful year ahead..

And oh! – A special round of applause to Pradeep Soundararajan and Santhosh Tuppad for their endeavor in enlightning the testing minds. You guys rock!!

Until next time.. bye bye and take care 🙂


The Man Leaves home puzzle.. Are you limiting your thoughts?

Hello Readers,

Many of you have came across the “The Man leaves home..” riddle by Lynn Mckee a few days back. Being a reader of her blog, I decided to participate in the challenge.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the challenge and haven’t tried it, I would suggest you to have a crack at it before reading further!

So, back to the puzzle. Lynn’s question was “A man left home, took 3 left turns and when returned; a man in uniform was waiting for him. What was he doing?”

The first thing that came to my mind was some questions. So I decided to Email Lynn with those. The questions were:

  1. By referring what “he” is doing, which person are you referring to? The man who left home (say the house owner) or the man in uniform (say, a policeman)?
  2. Man in uniform – what kind of uniform is it? (It can be police man, Dr, anyone who wear a uniform, if it’s in India, it can be a student also!)
  3. When did the house owner return? Did he just got out of the house and took 3 left turns and returned home, say in 10 mins?

Lynn replied that the question is regarding the man who left home. Regarding the uniform, she cannot answer, since it might solve the puzzle and about the time taken, she said my estimate is reasonable.

Aha! Thinking process 🙂 I took a pen and paper and marked a point on it. Then draw straight lines thinking about the path of the first person (the house owner) and noticed that it completes a square. So I thought it’s something like a cross road and the person left the home in his car or by walking. And I came up with two possible answers (let’s say scenarios) and another question. The scenarios were:

  1. The house owner might be waiting for a traffic signal from the man in uniform OR
  2. I guess the second one is a policeman and he is asking the owner of the house “Hello sir, are you ok? Why are you walking in circles?” 😛

And the question asked was “Was the man in uniform waiting specifically for the house owner? Or he was doing some routine job?”

Lynn replied in the negative for both the answers and answered my question that the second person was waiting specifically for the first person and the second one is doing a routine job..

Hmm.. this is getting interesting.. Imagination at work… aah, got the answers!!

  1. The man who left the house is not the house owner – he is a thief! the man in uniform is waiting to catch him!
  2. The man who left the house is participating in a race (the house is the starting/finishing point) – the man in uniform is waiting to announce the results of the race.

Lynn’s replies – the man who left home is not a thief, but the man in uniform is waiting to catch him. And it is not a race, but I’m getting closer 🙂 She gave me a clue – think outside the box on “Home”.

Hmmm.. Imagination again at work.. Our organization have a tester’s forum. I decided to throw this question in the forum. And got some opinions as well. The traffic signal, running etc were suggested by my colleagues as well. By this time, I found another scenario:

  • The man is doing shopping inside a mall – and the man in uniform is waiting to collect the money. (pretty reasonable, isn’t it :))

Here comes the twist – one of my colleagues comes up with the answer – the men are playing baseball! And the first person is completing a home run!! Oh!! that’s cool – right ‘out of the box’ 🙂 I submit both the answers in separate mails, and Lynn says baseball is correct!! Well done my team 🙂

Here comes the anti-climax: My Colleague says he has faced a similar question some time back – so he cannot take the credit 😀

Anyway, we cracked it and I’m happy that we did! End of story, right? No it’s not – read on!

Why didn’t I crack the riddle? That might be because of my “Unconscious Limitation to Testing“.

As a person from India, I may not have thought about baseball – I’m not an expert in that game, I usually don’t watch it either. So I might not have thought about it even in my dreams 🙂

I could have cracked it – if I draw the lines in a diagonal way (so that it looked like a diamond, rather than a square). That might have stimulated some thoughts about what happens when a man runs in that direction. 🙂

I could have asked for the location/country where this whole exercise happens 🙂

What do you think? Are you putting limitations to your testing?