Last week I participated in a competition conducted by, a crowdsourced testing start-up from India.  This is my approach\experience report on how I tested and won the competition.

What were the givens?

No requirement, no design documents, no test cases, no use cases, no user stories. All I had were credentials to log in and the URL to test. So, do I need to agitate and not to start testing until I get requirements? Do I sit and write test cases? Any conventional scripted testers would’ve struck wondering what to do. So, here is a warning for all those scripted testers it looks things are changing because of the agile approach, and such crowdsourced testing services.

How did iStart?

I didn’t waste any time exploring the application. I thought the best approach with the givens (actually no givens ;-)) would be, jump straight into using the application and observing the behaviour. I thought that would help with forming test ideas and then to build from there.

Being a user of such online shopping sites helped me to frame some initial expectation. So, started with Follow the (user) Flow heuristics. I decided to create my own credentials instead of using test credentials and log in. Then observe how easy or buggy it is to find an item, add to cart, check out, paying through a third party payment gateway and choose a shipping address of my choice.

Did iFollow the flow?

Registration was successful upon giving correct details. But I didn’t get to see any error message, so decided to enter some invalid data to find the application behavior. What I saw in giving invalid input was the error messages were not user-friendly, not just in terms of the message, in terms of usability as well. Error messages were in a different page and users needing to click back button to get back to the registration page. On click on back button the entire data entered were lost. So, this made me take a deviation from my initial plans of Follow the flow. Decided to test this module thoroughly, wondering why? Read bug advocacy of this bug below.

How iDid bug advocacy?

I didn’t just log the bug with a summary line, description, steps to reproduce and screenshots. Instead, I also explained how and why this might bug the users and impact of the bug.

The user registration page plays a vital role in giving the first impression about the application behaviour. Also, users use online shopping sites mainly to save time, by displaying errors on another page and asking the user to come back to the previous screen to correct the data is actually wasting sufficient time. This advocacy helps in understanding the real impact of such bugs. So, always explain how any bugs\issues found would potentially affect the user experience.

Your bugs are your representatives. The bug logging also depends on context, if you know your developers very well and if he is sitting next to you, the bug logging or advocacy may differ from the way you log bugs in crowdsourced testing. Here you have no clue about, who is doing bug triage, developers and their understanding of the product. So always give as much detail as possible so that they can’t reject your bugs.

Always remember this  most famous movie dialogue of all time, from “The God Father” movie while logging the bugs

“I’m going to make him an offer (details) he can’t refuse (to fix).”

Did iJust log bugs?

No, I went through most of the bugs logged by other testers. I posted comments, raised questions where ever I felt the bug was really not a bug or if the priority was inflated or if the issues were duplicated. Also, I neither missed to appreciate some good bugs reported by other testers nor missed to learn from fellow testers. I was actually a little disappointed that there were a significant amount of bugs without clear description and duplicates.

What were my objectives?

Then winning the competition, my objective was to log the maximum number of valid bugs. Ended recording 50 valid bugs, maximum by any tester. Also wanted to maintain a high bug acceptance ratio, 86% of the bugs were accurate. Happy with that but still wanted to improve on acceptance ratio.

So, What iDidn’t test?

I found few even tested the Facebook ‘Like’ gadgets, Payment gateway and spell checks in the application’s blog. Though few of such bugs were valid, those were not from the application under test, so they got rejected. So,

Know your boundaries, so you do good enough testing in given time.

Ready to try some bug advocacy?

Here are a few other bugs logged by me, try to advocate for them. The application under test was an online shopping site.

  • “Similar Items” feature is missing.
  • Same book title, but displayed with a huge difference in price tag.
  • The amount should always be right justified.
  • On entering the special characters the system through an “invalid gift message.”
  • Pre-order items are shown as Available and Buy Now.
  • Is the final price displayed in product description inclusive of taxes?
  • Can’t store search results.

Happy Bug Hunting!


Some of my favourite lessons in Bug Advocacy chapter of “Lessons Learned in Software Testing”  book

55: You are what you write.

58: Your bug report is your representative.

83: The summary line is the most important line in the bug report.

89: Use market or support data when appropriate.

101: When you decide to fight, decide to win!


Writing is hard work, not a gift

08/08/08 Testingideas was born,and it has  completed two years 🙂 . What a way to celebrate that!  My first article got published in a magazine. My article titled Context Driven Jumping featured in Software testing Club’s The Test Planet July 2010 edition, you can read the article here. Thanks to friends who reviewed my article and a sincere thanks  to STC’s Editorial team for shaping that into a wonderful article.

Looking back,  a lot had happened in two years.I never ever written anything on my own before I stared the blog. First year hardly few know about my blog and I did not blog much due to various personal reasons. Things started getting to shape from August 2009,  I started blogging regularly. In March 2010, James Bach recognized my writings and blogged about me. That was a very huge confidence booster for me . From then I started seeing my blog getting added to few others blog rolls as well. I take this opportunity to thank them all for the faith they have in me.

I am not great writer to write about writing, but I can definitely say Writing is not a gift. It all begins with, why you are writing and what is the intent and what you want to get out of it, plus passion and interest.

“Mr. Universe doesn’t have more muscles than I do, just better developed ones” ~ Jerry Weinberg in his book “Becoming A Technical Leader An Organic Problem-Solving Approach”

I realized writing is more efficient way to learn. This blog has helped to learn a lot than I did before. For every sentence you write, you will start asking yourself hundreds of questions, will be forced to refer more authentic source before publishing. So that helps you to gain more knowledge. Also this blog has helped me to find many well wishers and friends. And another biggest advantage of blogging you remember for long what you wrote than what you read.

Many are hesitant to express their views, because they bother about people making fun out of it. Yes, there will be few to make fun out of whatever you do. Don’t bother about them. They will never help you to grow, neither will they. But look to the wonderful people who appreciate, encourage, guide, caution, help and teach you.

“Your regrets aren’t what you did, but what you didn’t do. So take every opportunity” ~Cameron Diaz

“Every step taken may not be correct, but YOU need to take a step to find that” ~ Dhanasekar S 😀

My suggestions to aspirant bloggers , Keep it simple and plain, write about experience and learning those learnt after trying out practical approach to problems and about its success or failure.

Ah!Are you still reading my post?  I was expecting you to have started a blog by this time if you don’t have one.

“The writer learns to write, in the last resort, only by writing. He must get words onto paper even if he is dissatisfied with them.” ~ Paul Johnson

Happy Writing!

Dhanasekar  S.