Toughest Testing Challenge 1.2

Generate  functional tests (ideas)  for the below image

Yes or No
Yes or No

How can kung fu stop something that stops kung fu?

Most software were developed by highly skilled programmers. But still none of them are bug free and many of them are very buggy.

“If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.” – Jerry Weinberg

Software is a very volatile product, so it’s practically impossible to build bug free software even by the best of the programmers. So there exist testers to test the product. Testers look into a product with different perspective to inform management about the health of the product, thus helping management to take decisions better and faster. Most releases will go smooth and there will be failures in between (or vice versa 😉 ). Everything looks awesome until something goes wrong, then everything comes under the scanner. There will be a high-profile meeting to discover that THE problem was testing not done properly and THE reason was lack of time and THE solution is automation. 🙂

Now some testers who had talked about automation earlier will become automation test coders. These testers will evaluate automation tools and select the tool that has more voting in a polling conducted by *** forum. A framework that Google shows first would be chosen as the best suited one. A PoC that automates the login page of their application. Now stage is set to automate 90%  of test cases. NOTE: 100% is not possible!!!

This is something similar to a sip test and home use test of an edible products, there was an interesting analysis about the failure of New coke in the book Blink. I too had many snap judgment failures and one among them was selecting a gaming console. In one of my earlier jobs where I was a game tester, was given an option to join either Xbox or PS2 team on my comfort with the consoles. I tried both for about ten minutes and I felt comfortable with Xbox, so moved to Xbox team. But later when I played for more than 2 hours continuously, I realized it is not comfortable at all, later found PS2 was more comfortable for longer time duration.

Without anticipating all such problems, a set of testers who were either bored by the kind of testing they do or misguided about automation testing, would become an automation engineer without much programming skills. They would then write buggy codes to find bugs in an application that was developed by skilled programmers , read the blog title again. 😀

In Kung Fu Panda II, Po finally stops the thing that stops kung Fu after finding a secret . The secret here is to invest in developing thinking, analytical skills of testers not just on automation tool.

Automation can help to solve the problem, but that is not the solution for all problems.

PS : kung fu panda 2 – An abandoned villain threatens, there exists an unknown secret, Po sets out  a mission to understand the secret to defeat the villain and bring peace. It is twice filled with attractiveness and awesomeness …

Marching to Moolya :-)

March turns out to be a wonderful month for me third time in succession.
March 2009 : Celebrating A R Rahman Oscar winning moments. He and his music keeps inspiring me.
March 2010 : I featured in James Bach’s blog, which I consider as one of the  greatest achievements in my professional career. His writings fuel the urge I have in me to learn the testing craft better.
March 2011 : The most important move in my career.  Very proudly and loudly announcing “I am joining Moolya” (read this in font size 72 ;))

The marching started when I got to know Pradeep Soundararajan through his blog. From then we had regular interactions both online and also in person. I was impressed and inspired by his passion towards software testing. One fine day Pradeep shared the news about he co-founding a testing services company along with Santhosh Tuppad. From that moment on I started dreaming that I should join them. But I was not sure what their plans were then. We used to meet now and then, to discuss and fill 😉 a lot. Later one day Pradeep asked about my interest in joining Moolya.  I immediately expressed my interest to join. Because I had already decided  to join them anytime.

It was one of the easiest plus the most important decisions I had taken so for. It was easy because I knew them very well for close to two years by now. They kept me updated about the progress they made in-terms of setting up the office. They also shared the dreams, plans and the visions they have for the future. I was so happy to be present in the inauguration function. Though I was ready to join any time, They were very clear in hiring.  They hire only if, they are very sure about keeping the employees happy both in terms of work and compensation. If you want to know more reasons why I join Moolya read further else start sending your test reports! :-). Then one fine evening I was asked to come down to their office and Pradeep said they are in a position to hire me. The moment I was waiting for!!!!

Why Moolya?
They are passionate about testing, so they care about the quality, customers, employees and also bugs :-). This is the place where you’ll get freedom to work over tracking employees by numbers and metrics. Place where you get responsibilities and opportunities to try and learn new ideas over running the same test cases again and again. Place were purpose motto is respected over business motto. And more importantly they don’t count the head, they count the brain. I love to be part of Moolya’s future success story from the start. I am thrilled and excited to work for\with such passionate and wonderful people. I thank Moolya for the faith and confidence they have in me, we will rock for sure.

Future looks promising and Beautiful!!!!

Also, I like to thank James Bach and Weekendtesting, they played a vital role in getting to know Pradeep Soundararajan and Santhosh Tuppad. I will not do justice to myself, if I miss to thank Pragmatist, the blog which I believe is the starting point for all this happenings. Dear testers please start blogging and let the world know who you are.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. “- Neale Donald Walsch.

(BTW, Pradeep already promised that he will push me out of my comfort zone.)

Dear Gladiators and Spartans, 🙂
Without doubt, so for this is the best team I worked with, in terms of commitment, fun and bonding. I’ll miss you all and the amazing fun we had together :-(. Thanks for all the fun, enjoyment and work we achieved together. Fifteen months with this team is the period where I laughed and enjoyed the most in my entire office life.

“But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep” – Robert Frost

Think different but keep it simple :)

There is content below, I can read can’t you? oh!  Think different to see the content, but keep it simple 🙂

This is the most common problem we testers encounter quite often, it works in developer machine but not in test machine.

Once an interesting incident happened in one of the web application I was testing, application was working fine in developer’s environment but not in test environment.

The most likely reasons could be either  the test servers do not have the latest code or  there is conflict in environment. Quick check revealed that both the environments had the same code.

Now the focus was on to investigate the configuration of the servers.

As a tester how will  you investigate such situations?

Few tips to nail down such problems. Please share your tips as well.

1. Test in another test machine\server

2. Test in another dev machine\server

This will help to narrow down if there the problem is at client side or server side.

3. Check if  that machine  is also hosting the web server.

Time out issues and session management related issues may not be reproducible, if the machine you are testing in is a server machine.

4. Check for additional softwares installed.

Generally developer box will have lot of additional softwares installed, like debug tools, development related softwares that may prevent from the bug to be reproduced. Even the web browser in dev box will be loaded with tons of additional tools and utilities. Such additional installation may also prevent from some bugs being reproduced.

It is not enough to check if required softwares were  installed, it is equally important to make sure no additional unwanted softwares were installed.

Coming back to the issue, following those above mentioned approaches by pairing with developer helped to nail down the problem in few hours. The issue was, a bulk data extraction component used (it was ETL project) will work only in localhost, that does not have the capability to connect with external host. In the developer machine and dev server both web server and DB server was hosted  in the same machine, so that worked perfecly fine.But test environment had DB and Web server running in different machine, so this caused the problem. An important lesson learned from the incident is it is always good to have the test environment mimic the production. Keeping the test environment similar to production helped in finding the problem very earlier in the cycle.

Another good practice to follow, at any given time at least one test environment should be  in sync with production server, so any production issues reported can be easily replicated and analysed in a test environment. Having only one test environment means most time that will be updated with enhancements going on, that may also prevent from reproducing production issues because of code changes applied in the test environment.

How many of you have set up the test environments? No, I didn’t mean double clicking an installer provided by the developer. As a tester I learned a lot, by setting up test environment and maintaining it, setting up test environments will help  to understand your application better, it will help to get better test ideas, analyzing of bugs can be done  effectively .

Understanding test environment improves testing.

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Conference Of the Testers, By the Testers, and For the Testers

Bug DeBug Chennai Jan 29th 2011.

A Conference not by any professional\training oriented networks.

A Conference not for marketing commercial tools.

A Conference where no certificates sold.

A Conference where  no one talked from birds eye view, instead the real testers talked about ground reality.

A Conference from where  testers left  with hearts filled, not hands filled with useless pamphlets.

And most importantly the conference started on time and went as per the scheduled, isn’t this one point enough to prove this was conference with a difference ? 🙂

I traveled with Pradeep and Santhosh the previous day evening to Chennai, that was one of the most enjoyable drives I had in recent times.

Vipul Kocher, President, Indian Testing Board  started the conference with his keynote address  on “Present problems and  future solutions”, participants wouldn’t have asked for any better start. Vipul asked serious of hard questions  like “What was the last or the latest innovation that happened in testing?” He suggested testers to use heart as well along with brain  :). His key-note covered various problems and challenges faced by testers, and he credited that bugs are the only perfect being 🙂 Here is his presentation slides.

Next  was a simple but very powerful presentation on “Economical, Robust Web Automation using Sahi” by its founder Narayanan Raman. He shared the views about the current automation tools which make the testers to a tester developer. I too realised this after working in automation for a year or so. If you look at my earlier posts related to automation which recommends testers to learn DOM, HTML, Xpaths. Later realized that I shouldn’t be  a tester developer. But it seems Sahi has over come those problems of learning Xpaths and DOM, the demo showed the tool is very  simple to use, cross-platform cross browser supports is really the big advantage.

This was followed  by a talk on “Notes from a problem solving tester consultant” by the bad boy of software testing 😉 Pradeep Soundararajan, who was also the winner of  “NLTE Problem Solving Expert of 2010” :). He was at his usual best, the talk was filled with arrogance and humor. Here is his presentation.

Next presentation was “Smarter ways of doing Selenium Automation(Functional Test Automation)” by Ruturaj Doshi. unfortunately I missed this presentation, you can find the slides here.

Followed with delicious lunch.

The first session post lunch was on “The Emerging Trend of Cloud Computing and Software Testing” by Anuj Magazine. The presentation was interesting with lot of reference to history in general. He talked about emerging testing trends and its advantages and drawbacks in  virtualization and cloud computing world, slides are here.

Then it was the bug hunter, Ajay Balamurugadas, had just two slides one with a mind mapping diagram which had the essential skills needed for\to a bug hunter. He asked lots of questions and  tried to keep the session as interactive as possible. Slides are here.

The presentation sessions ended with talk on “Testing at Startups” by Praveen Singh, Founder 99 Tests. He shared his experience about the challenged faced while testing in a start-ups. He mentioned building testing skills and joining community and building authority are important for testers. Here is his presentation.

This was followed by interesting Q&A sessions,  hope that turned out to be very useful for budding testers, and the interesting questions got “Lessons Learned in Software Testing” book sponsored by Moolya Testing.  Testers were asked to share testing tips and the best tips got rewards.

Then the testers had chance to network and interact with the fellow testers. I too meet many testers, whom I knew so for only through blogs and twitter.

Hats Off and double Thumbs Up to Bharath & Chennai Software Testing Group and RIA-RUI for organise such an event without any high priority issues :-).

Every tester now proudly can say  this is my(our) conference, Thanks to the organizers and volunteers for making this possible.

Bug DeBug க்கு  ஒரு ‘ஓ’ போடு (Hip Hip Hurry to Bug DeBug)

Here are snaps from the conference


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!