A bit of house keeping..

I’ve been away for a long long time! So long that I forgot about this blog and I need to start from scratch 😀

I thought of putting the list of my popular posts below so that it will be easier for anyone finding my blog to quickly go through them. So, here’s the list (in no particular order):

















Hope that helps some one! And I hope you enjoy reading them. As always, feedback would be great.

Until next time, Happy Testing!


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! 🙂

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..

Rapid Software Testing Workshop – Day 1

After a long pause, I’m back on the writer’s table! This was no ordinary week by any means for the tester in Me!

Ever since I read about Rapid Software Testing from a blog link, I wanted to attend this workshop from the man who coined this. And now, I’m a proud attendee of the Rapid Software Testing workshop by James Bach. The two days were absolutely wonderful. Days filled with lot of learning and thinking.

Here is an outline of my first day experience in the workshop.

RST Day 1

The Master is a very demanding teacher. He sets this expectation before starting the class itself and as promised, the exercises required the Socratic thinking expected of  the students.

The slides and program notes of RST are all available online, however, getting the information from the man himself is a special feeling. What is more important is listening to the experience he has had, were he talks about real life examples. The Master urges you to challenge his methods, and asks you to keep questioning. This is in fact, the essence of RST – “To test well, is to ask questions..”

James taught about Creep and Leap Heuristic for investigating patterns, there were topics on diplomacy, parenting, the important tools that can help your testing and many more; and not to forget the couple of magic tricks demonstrated to test our observation capabilities 🙂

It was a very fascinating first day on the workshop, with lots of new faces and some I already new; like Parimala, Mohit Verma, Rahul Gupta, Santosh Tuppad, Sunil Kumar, Dhanasekhar, Yagnesh and so on, and of course Pradeep Soundararajan!

I’ll be blogging about the 2nd day experience tomorrow!

It’s tough being a Tester! Testing Circus article

The people at Testing Circus are doing a great job and the magazine has just published their Anniversary edition. I’m really glad and lucky to be part of those passionate people.

You can read my article along with a host of many others in the August edition of testing circus.. Grab your copy now from the following link!


Thanks for your time!!

Your comments will be much appreciated!

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 🙂