HOLY COW!! It’s been long time since I blogged.
I was thinking for a while about what are the most important skills that help a tester to craft his own methods instead of following industry standards or best practices? This triggered while reading through one of the old posts of James Bach again recently, especially this particular quote that grabbed my attention, “Following is for novices who are under active supervision. Instead, I craft methods on a project by project basis, and I encourage other people to do that..”
Extensive research is never possible in testing commercial software, due to time and budget constraints. So, how to test software quickly? Heuristics are used to speed up the process of finding an optimal solution. It’s something that helps you approach a problem and take decisions, which should be applied wisely. In order to write better on heuristics I wanted to know the Tamil (my mother tongue) meaning for heuristics. I decided to search in Google, from my knowledge and experience I believe Google would help me to get Tamil meaning of heuristics, but unfortunately it couldn’t get an answer for that. So, I decided to ask in Twitter addressing to few Tamil experts. This is heuristics, an approach to problem, but no guarantee that it solves problem.
If heuristics help in approaching problems or take decision, Oracles help to identify problems. Some of oracles used in testing are
2. Comparing against competitors products
3. Consistency with in the products
“A tester is someone who knows that things can be different.” – Jerry Weinberg.
“Questioning ignites thinking, leads to progress” – Dhanasekar
Whenever I train novice testers, I provide them with few tasks, when they come back with a solution, I probe them with many questions like why was this done? why was this necessary? why do they think this is right solution? why not do it in a different way? Most times there won’t be concrete answers. My next step is to ask them to find answers for my questions. After finding answers they would realise there were many more to learn and explore, but still many wouldn’t realise that those questions ignited their minds. The important thing is not to stop questioning. What we observe is not testing in itself, but testing exposed to our way of questioning.
If HOLY Sea(C) is preparation and practice for a battle, observation is the real battle. For instance, if your application sends emails, have you ever observed how it appears in the email alert message pop-ups in many popular clients on windows platform or popular notifiers like Growl in Mac OS X? This example is out of an observation made on such email pop-up. This client we worked for, put their branding advertisements at the start of the email, so the alert pop-ups showed the first two lines of the content which is purely marketing text, but not important content. Because of which user might assume this to be spam and ignore it. This test idea would have never triggered if I missed to observe the alert pop-up. Making observations after executing tests is not end of testing, subsequent test ideas mostly result out of those observations. So, missing critical observation is missing potentially risky tests.