Who is breaking the AC switch?

Disclaimer!! The characters in this story are fictional. Resemblance to anyone dead or alive is simply coincidental!!

“Ahh! Not again!!” Yelled the Admin team’s Manager…

and he goes on…

“Are you all little kids? Who is breaking these AC Switches daily? If you are not going to tell, then we are installing security cameras soon. Then we will see who breaks this stuff…”

We look at each other puzzled – someone from ourselves is breaking this switch… But who?

Don’t worry mates – Super Tester is here for your rescue!! He will find it and punish the offender (Grrrr!!) πŸ˜‰

Puzzled?? I will explain…

Hope you all are aware of the temperature control switches for the centralized air conditioners. In our office, we had our centralized AC’s controls hanging from the wall. So people changed the temperature at will – when they felt it was too cold or too hot πŸ˜‰ As a result the switches began to malfunction and our Admin team had to replace them. Also they instructed the security people to operate these switches and locked them up in a small plastic box. Now, if the employees want to change the temperature, they must call the security guys to open this box and change the temperature πŸ™‚ In addition, they stuck these plastic boxes to the wall with an adhesive tape, to look more aesthetic…

And these small plastic boxes are causing the yelling now a days πŸ™‚ Everyday the Admin team finds 2 of these boxes stripped from the wall and hanging inconveniently. They will fix it again and the next day, the same thing happens… No wonder the manager becomes mad at these…

So, from the day our Admin manager started to yell, I paid close attention to what is happening with these boxes. But it is sort of an intermittent issue and I cannot always keep on looking at these switches.. I somewhat forgot about this problem, even though the yelling and complaining continued πŸ™‚

We usually have our video conference with onsite colleagues weekly. I forgot about this meeting once and went for lunch. I remembered about the meeting when my friend called me on her way to the meeting room. So I finished my lunch quickly and ran for the meeting room. I remember my shoulder stuck something, but since I was running to catch up, I didn’t really care about what I broke. While returning from the meeting room, I noticed that the switch box is broken!!! Oh my god! I broke it this time, rather unknowingly, with my shoulder πŸ˜‰ Ah! here’s the naughty kid who is breaking the switch box!

But I was sure that this may not happen every time you pass that corridor. You can see the corridor outline in the below picture:

AC Switch near door
My first thought was like, the door when opened hits the box and it falls. But that was not the case, since they have fixed it in such a way that there is no problem in opening and closing the door. But I was also sure that the box fell off because I hit it with my shoulder. So what is the scenario which caused it?

I tried to rewind what happened earlier…

1. I was running
2. I hit the box
3. It fell off

That is not so clear – let’s try again…

1. I was running
2. I had to open the door
3. I hit the box
4. It fell off

That is also not clear – since there is no problem with opening the door as I mentioned above… Let’s try again…

1. I was running
2. I had to open the door
3. But, I didn’t open the door fully – since I had to be quick, I just opened a quarter of it and squeezed myself in
4. I hit the box
5. It fell off

Wow! That’s an “Aha” moment – I remembered the movie Source Code while writing this. Rewinding and fixing your actions to find a mystery…

But this solves only half the problem – what is happening to the other switch box?

Here’s the next corridor outline:

AC Switch near the Printer Β You might have guessed it – there is a printer sitting on the way and someone is hitting the box with their shoulder while avoiding the printer. That is somewhat true. But, the corridor is big enough for a person to walk without hitting the switch box even when avoiding the printer. Here’s what happens:

1. You are walking towards the wall
2. Someone is walking towards you from the opposite direction
3. You two meet exactly at the printer
4. The person near to the switch adjusts so that you two don’t collide
5. That person hits the switch with the shoulder
6. Depending on the impact, it falls off..

πŸ™‚

So, what testers find?

They find this, this and this

And they sometimes find and solve mysteries as described above..

Have they fixed it? Not yet πŸ˜‰

The Good, Bad and Interesting – Creative thinking to help your testing

What all are the qualities you look for in a tester?

I know there are lots and lots of qualities –Β  there are many blog posts related to this question (Just Google it and you will see :)) Among the so called qualities, the lateral/creative thinking attribute is of prime importance..

I was attending a workshop on creative thinking last week and one of the methods mentioned was the Good, Bad and Interesting exercise. This is one of the basic methods to improve your thinking and was put forward by Dr Edward De Bono.

So, what is Good, Bad and Interesting exercise?

It is basically a method to improve your thinking process. It gets you looking at ideas from multiple perspectives with reference to a particular scenario. That sounds cool as a tester, right?

How do you employ this method?

It is very easy to employ this method. Take on a scenario and think what is good about it, what is bad about it and what is interesting about it. Generate as many ideas based on this, but make sure that you are not biased in your thinking. That is; be fairly equal about the ideas you generate for the Good, the bad and the interesting. We are not talking about a “right” answer here, but we are talking about the “possibilities” here.

Let’s see a simple example and some possibilities based on it. When I say “Ice” what possibilities can you think of based on the good, bad and interesting technique?

Good: It’s so cool, we can use it when we are sweating in hot weather. Take a piece and rub on your face or make some juice and put ice in it.

Bad: It’s so cold, that too much of it can make you freeze to death or it is very slippery that you can easily fall over.

Interesting: It is pretty hard and a knife made of ice can kill a person without any trail like finger prints πŸ˜‰ (noo, I’m not a gangster!) or you can aim a big piece at a running thief and get him with one shot (provided you hit him ;))

As testers, we will have to think of so many possibilities and this fundamental exercise can give you lots of test ideas. Link this to the scenarios in your day to day testing and you can benefit a lot from these.

This is just the tip of an iceberg called Creative Thinking and it’s endless possibilities πŸ™‚

Readers, please share your thoughts and other techniques which can help better testing!