FaceBook Logoff

I have this habit of logging into any shopping site like Flipkart with same ID, same time in two different browsers (Firefox and Chrome). With one of the sessions, I browse through the items, and other one to add to the shopping cart. This is very helpful to me, to do shopping faster.

I thought I would do the same with Facebook as well. I would use one of the sessions to read all the status updates and other session to chat or render the videos and watch, so I can browse through all the updates from friends in quick time. But I observed logging into second browser forces to log out from the previous browser session

Is this a problem?

I don’t think as a tester you can decide if this is a really a problem assuming either one of those scenarios as an industry standards ;-).Even if one of those scenarios is set as an industry standards it is not necessary to follow them blindly. So Face off 1 yourself as a user to analyze such scenarios.

We cannot think of everything before we start.

You don’t know what you want until you see it.

While shopping user (like me) has two sessions opened. I am done with my shopping .I do check out after adding all the items to the chart and make payment, check my mailing address,which  takes close to 5 to 10 minutes. And then I log out of this session but completely forgot about the other session opened in different browser, and if the user is using a shared computer which is very common in India. So, here it looks it is better to log off all the sessions in the machine if user log off from a session. But one way it is helpful to user if he can access more than one session at a time.

So, which is the correct behavior? It is always decided by what your users are up to. So face off like a user and analyze the observed behavior.

Even let say Flipkart decides to change this and allows only one user session similar to Facebook by maintaining the sessions in server instead of cookies. It should be communicated to user in a very positive manner by highlighting the security risk. Any change like this cannot go without educating the user. Users who are very used to such behavior may not accept those changes.

User satisfaction comes from handling change, not mitigating risk.

Wait. Did I say it is the user always? No(w), I am seeing some new terminology being used these days apart from user friendly, its advertiser friendly ;-). Sometimes you have to consider advertisers as well, so no harm in annoying user for some time.  There you should not think about user friendly close buttons.

Aware of your potential user\customer very well, to analyze what you observed is really a problem. None of the so called industry standards or testing techniques like orthogonal array, boundary value analyses or whatever it is, will help to capture or analyze such scenarios, and we can’t estimate for such analyses in advance. So

Apply your sapience and heuristics. Don’t follow rules.

“Hell, there are no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish something” ~ Thomas Edison

Note to Readers:

  • Here I have given just one possible scenario that I generally do as a user, I like you to bring\think in different perspective to analyses.
  • I had a vague idea about this log off session, was thinking on how to shape this in to an article. Finally this got this shape after  reading this wonderful post by Nathan Smith Estimation is bunk

1 –  Face off (movie) – A revolutionary medical technique allows an undercover agent to take the physical appearance of a major criminal and infiltrate his organization.

Purpose (Dis)Solved

This is Manual Locker :-) . He takes 2 to 3 seconds to lock and almost the same time to unlock. Once you pull him to left you can clearly see that he has locked the door and you feel very secure. Purpose Solved

And this is hi-fi one click automation locker :-) this guy needs just one click to lock. But do you ever feel secure after using this lock? At least I am not. I always test this lock first by locking it with doors kept open and try to open it from outside to make sure the lock works :D

The same is true with manual and automation testing. How many of us feel comfortable after the so called automation scripts run and say the script passed?

What other benefits does  automation lock provides than manual lock? I don’t think anything great in this context.

Both the locks solve the same purpose with no added benefits by automation. Yes, it may save 1 to 2 seconds, but considering the resources and time invested to design and manufacture the automation lock, was it worth investing? I doubt

Not convinced? Read further to know what happens if automation lock fails miserably. One sad day my friend got stuck inside bathroom for close to one hour when the critical spring inside the lock broke. So there was no option other than breaking the lock to release him :D. Purpose dissolved

Ok, now take a look at the amount of resource wasted. Also wondering how much time  wasted to design such a fancy lock. At the same time the manual lock is very simple, uses less resource, simple design and solves the desired purpose neatly.

This is how automation testing done at most places, if your manual testing solves the purpose what is the need for automation testing?

Phew! Here are the reasons to do such fancy automation

  1. Attract the client by projecting automation
  2. Attract testers by show-casing automation projects (testers are blindly believing it)
  3. Resource utilization, if there is not much testing due to delay in development put them in automation
  4. “Succumbing to The Golden Elephant Syndrome: James Bach calls one of the terrible pathologies of testing. A white elephant may be a big, useless thing, but if it’s made of gold and costs a lot of money, it’s tempting to some people to try to use it anyway. Expensive tools can cause a lot of trouble if they are badly designed and unreliable. If such a tool were cheap, we wouldn’t hesitate to throw it away. But if it’s expensive, the person who bought it doesn’t want to look like a fool-and thus becomes a bigger fool “ – this is an extract from Perfect Software:And Other Illusions about Testing

Think again!

Instead, why don’t we allow the testers to explore, question the product, so they might uncover some critical bugs, which client might discover later. Such exploration might bring in new ideas, suggestions and enhancements to the product that might help to better your competitors. Encourage testers to improve their critical thinking and analytical skill .Conduct bug battles and encourage them to write articles, blogs at least within the organization.

From my experience everywhere regression automation is a fancy way to attract clients. For instance if you goal is to reach the top floor you may take elevator instead of staircase, so you reach quicker. But at most place goal is to walk but most try to use elevator to solve the purpose.

Think Again!

I can’t conclude any automation article without referring Jonathan Kohl’s  “Test automation shouldn’t be a goal; test automation helps you achieve goals” . Read More Here

If you really want to achieve something out of automation read below articles first

http://www.kaner.com/pdfs/testarch.pdf

http://www.satisfice.com/presentations/agileauto.pdf

Note : Read this relevant and a wonderful post by Umesh Gobinath about User experience and usability here

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Heck, it is TweetDeck

Personally I didn’t like any twitter clients to read the tweets, instead I prefer to use twitter’s own web interface to read tweets. But I keep installing and trying many twitter clients, recently installed TweetDeck again.. These clients sometimes help in retweeting and auto fill names are really good.

After installing I got this window that suggested me to register for a TweetDeck account, it also provides me an option not to show this option again.

If you notice that option, I have to check that check box, so the screen  will not  shown to me again. Ok it looks fine no issues. I checked that option so I am not shown this message again.

Then it showed me with one more window, a welcome screen, it also provides me an option not to show this option again.

But did you notice here, I have to un check the option, so that it will not be shown to me again.

It is lacking it consistency and it is definitely confusing users like me. Most of the users after checking the first windows preference, will be expecting the same behavior throughout the application.

So, Test for consistency of the application consistently :)

–A Confused User

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Don’t dig your own grave

I have seen people who are very enthusiastic, work very hard and are smart enough. They come up with interesting ideas and share with the team and earn lot of respect from their team members.

Mr. Grumble is one such smart guy, who comes up with new ideas, is always proactive and innovative. Reads a lot on internet and books which is reflected in his work as well. He was appreciated for whatever he did, from clients and even from development teams for making their tasks easier in terms of deployment and through pair testing with developers. As a result, he was very confident of getting a good raise and\or a promotion. But what was shown to him was a Bell curve and Normalization theory. Mr. Grumble was totally upset and he decided not try out anything new.”Why should I innovate and implement new ideas when I am not appreciated with a good raise”. He lost his interest in reading, learning new stuff, or researching tasks like he did earlier.  Mr. Grumble was dumb. He did not know how to project his tasks in numbers (MBN – Management by Numbers). But Mr. Mumble understood just numbers.

Some of us are like Mr. Grumble and some are like Mr. Mumble. Honestly, which one do you want to be? If I were you, I would choose neither :D

Did you realize that Mr. Grumble dug his own grave by setting high expectation and rewards to himself? When his expectations weren’t met, he stopped himself from learning anything at all. Mr. Mumble is no where responsible, it’s Grumble who chose to bring this turmoil on himself. He did great work, but set unreasonable expectations too. It would have been better if he set a goal for himself and be his own judge instead of expecting others to reward his work. The best way to celebrate ones achievements is by gifting to oneself. It could be a beer, cappuccino or a chicken pizza. This way, Mr. Grumble could have continued to be his usual best and still be happy with whatever he gets in his professional life.

And yes rewards are definitely waiting for you. I started this blog just to write down my understanding on automation for my own reference and an alternative way to show my skills than doing a useless certification. Look! Now I am dancing in James Bach’s blogs and Vipul Kocher’s blog.

There are people out there to appreciate and motivate. I was stunned and really didn’t know how to react when James in Skype asked “I need to know your name for the purpose of adding your blog to my blogroll and also I want to blog about you”. I somehow typed my name correctly and then typed “Thanks” and “I am honored”. I am yet to find words for James’s reply  “ I thank you for giving me something to praise” .So they are great soul like James Bach,Satisfice Inc, Vipul Kocher ,Co Founder of Puretesting and many others looking for passionate testers  to appreciate the effort and motivate you. So, don’t worry about Mr. Mumble, his mumbling will hardly be heard anyway.

Set your own goals and appraise yourself before someone else does it for you. Bell curves are just that, making lot of noise with the wind, but of no long term use.

Jerry Weinberg reading my post and amplifying it on his blog is the greatest appraisal I can get (for)ever. I am blessed http://jerryweinberg.amplify.com/2010/04/28/i-test-everything-and-i-build-credibility/

A Disclaimer here: I am not blaming everyone, there are exceptions

Happy Appraisal!

Dhanasekar S

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How to measure Productivity?

This happened in one fine day in a team meeting. One of my co-workers raised her doubt on measuring the productivity.

A Tool to measure productivity?

She picked up a task and based on her initial understanding estimated that the task would require two hours to complete. When she started with the task she ended up in exploring for solution and a bit of research for about six hours and learned that two lines of code will fix the task. So she coded those two lines complied in ten minutes. Now, what is the productivity and how to measure that?

I really don’t have an answer,as I can’t quantify the productivity to a mere number and I believe most development and testing tasks are like this. Do you have an answer?

Addendum added an hour later:

Every one is forced to show their productivity,that is the only measure any company needs. Will KLOC ,Burn Down Chart or any other metrics show the productivity correctly here?

Addendum added After Aravind’s Comments:

I liked all the points in comments by Aravind  below

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Unveiling! *The Uncertifiable*

Here goes the Uncertifiable badge Inspired by James Bach’s post Conscientious Uncertification

Hiiiyyyeeaaa !! [Kung fu panda’s war cry :)]

Here is my one cent, below is another cent “why am I Uncertifiable?”

Thank You James Bach for permitting to use Buccaneer Scholar image.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading James Bach’s Secrets of A Buccaneer-Scholar book and strongly recommend reading it. The book gives a great confidence on how Self- Education and Pursuit of Passion can lead to a Lifetime of Success. Most of software testers from India are either B.E or MCA degree holders. I can’t understand why we need yet another certification?

I love to hear from those certified people how that helped in day-to-day testing activity? Did that help to improve testing skills? Does that help the clients? Does that make an expert? I can accept those certifications one and only if it helps to solve practical problems and if that improves questioning and thinking skills. Yes, you can learn some theoretical definitions of testing terms, but wait “You Can never be sure if you have a correct definition, but don’t ever stop trying to get one” from Are your lights on? Sadly these certifications never allow you to try or question it.

Please use your sapience to make decisions. I know many do certification because Mr. X or company forces\recommends. In this commercialized world both Mr. X and companies are either fooled by marketing or they are lazy to find better way of judging testers skills. Most Mr. X doesn’t even know the syllabus of such certificate programs pathetic.

Also remember you can’t just go to Mr. X and say I can’t do certification. If you need a change find replacements first. Start writing blogs, share your ideas, be proactive, and speak with customer support team to understand the customers’ better, try to bring in new ideas and innovation into testing. Remember any idea should help to progress and never be an overhead. If you are interested in installation, configurations of Servers learn, set up and control the QA environment. Learn some Open Source tool and scripting language like Ruby or Perl, and then apply them in to improve the testing process.

After three to four years of experience in the industry I realized most are running behind such impractical certification and fantasy automation. Even though my sapience says those are not impractical, I was not able to judge myself as I lack experience, until I came across Dr Cem Kaner and James Bach web sites. So explore, think, analyze, discuss, debate, fail, learn, unlearn until you are learn the truth. There is a saying in Tamil “Mere seeing or hearing an information does not reveal the truth, investigate hard to learn the truth”. So learn the truth, stand up and fight bravely or be a Slave.

Yes, it is a challenging path unfortunately you have only two paths a challenging one or a boring one. Remember The Matrix movie? Morpheus gives Neo a choice between two pills: red to learn the truth, blue to return to the world as he knows it. Choose Your pill and I know I can’t wake people who pretend to sleep.

Happy Learning the Truth!

Dhanasekar – The Uncertifiable

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Confused Customer = Reduced Revenue

  1. I logged in to HDFC bank
  2. Want to register for a new bill payer
  3. Found a link to register, so clicked on for registration
  4. That opened me with a new browser window
  5. I entered all the details [it is a 5 Step registration with 10 to 15 fields of data entered depending on the options  selected]
  6. Clicked on registration
  7. It showed me yet another login screen
  8. I entered my user name and password again
  9. I got this message “Your last session was terminated incorrectly or is currently active. Please try logging in again after some time.”

Ok, I understand that a session is already active and even you know that, then why are you asking me to login again? What is that some time 1 minute? 1 Hour? 1 day? 1 month? 1 year?

As a user I am confused :(

When I am about to post this, got an email from ICICI bank about phishing,it says

“Never enter your personal details on any website via a link in an e-mail. Always access the website by typing www.icicibank.com into the address bar.”

Did you expect me to click on the hyperlink you provided? As a user I am confused :(

Again,I feel this is where testers can Value add to customers, by bringing in such perspectives.

Again referring to Jonathan Kohl article here , the customer depended on us to use our technical knowledge, experience and skill to know how to do those kinds of things properly. This  article from Kohl added to ReadDaily task  along with context-driven testing ,random lessons from Lessons Learned in Software testing book and Heuristic Test Planning: Context Model

Happy Don’t Confuse User testing

–A Confused User

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