SBTM, Context Free Questions and Rapid Reporter.

Hello folks, hope you are all doing well and had a cracking start to the New Year. The year started very well for
me, I had a chance to take up a project in more of a consulting way than our usual projects.

The projects I worked on last year are in a support phase now, so I could manage some free time almost every day.
It’s pretty boring sitting idle, right? So I’ve gone through some lessons on Performance Testing, read a lot of
James Bach’s and Michael Bolton’s blog posts. SBTM and Context free questions fascinated me a lot, but there were limitations of actually trying them out in our projects (that old test case running syndrome ;)). And, out of the
blue I get a chance to test one of our internal projects.

This project has been going on for a while and one of my fellow testers had the test cases prepared for it. He had
tested it as well. So here is my chance to go back to Exploratory testing and do what I like!

The first thing I did was to go through Michael Bolton’s Context free questions to help testing.  I had a thorough look at those questions and comments for the post and identified that all of them need not be asked in my scenario. So I trimmed them down to about 20 questions. This decision was made completely on a personal instinct. Here goes my trimmed list:

  1. Who is the customer/stake holder of the project?
  2. Do you know any problems that would threaten the value of this product?
  3. How much time do I have?
  4. When is the next release?
  5. When do you want the reports/information?
  6. How do you want the reports?
  7. When are you planning to launch this?
  8. Is there another application like this?
  9. What are the issues with the old application?
  10. What are the improvements in this application over the old one?
  11. Could you describe the functionality flow with a diagram?
  12. Has any one tested this?
  13. What all information are available to me?
  14. Is there some specific type of data processed by the application?
  15. What are your thoughts on this?
  16. Have you shown this to end users?
    1. What are their thoughts on this?
    2. What is their overall perception of the application?
    3. Is there any thing specific they wanted to be included?
  17. Is there any thing that I should avoid?
  18. Have you seen any error patterns?
  19. What usually is the common problem you face with these types of systems?
  20. Is there anything else I should have asked/I must be aware of?

I had a meet with the Product’s user champion and got the answers for all these questions. I was granted a week to
provide my exploratory testing report. My fellow tester had done a good job in testing this, and his bug reports and test cases were very handy to start my mission.

Exploratory testing is accountable – and I wanted to practice SBTM for this project. Since I’m sort of consulting for
this project on my free time, I was sure that the Debriefing part will be a problem as it was nearly impossible for me
to find some one to get this done. So I had to avoid the Debriefing part. But still, I worked on chartered sessions
and taking logs.

For taking logs, I used Rapid Reporter developed by Shmuel Gershon. I had used the Session Tester previously
for my exploratory testing missions. But having read a lot about Rapid Reporter through various blogs, I wanted to
give it a try. And I was really impressed with this nifty little tool (Thanks Shmuel!). I performed 6 chartered
sessions using Rapid Reporter and it was a great help in my mission. I really liked the automatic creation of that
CSV document, that was virtually hassle free 🙂 How I wish to publish one of those documents here, but I’m bound by NDAs!

So, all in all a great experience and I’m happy that I provided a worthy report to my user champion on the product.
I couldn’t continue my work on that product even thought they wanted me to 😦 A couple of other projects came up
which needed my attention. There is an offer to train a junior tester for the above product, which I’ve gladly
agreed. Hoping to pass on some good lessons. Will blog about it once I complete it.

Off Topic: It’s been a year since I started Blogging! Whoa!! 🙂 I want to thank all my readers/followers for your
encouragement, your support has been invaluable to this blog and my career as a Software Tester.

Until next time, Happy testing 🙂