"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Why cant you test without documents?

Hi Reader,

One common problem, we currently face, is to test something, without documents. I have received a couple of mails asking "How do I test without documents?"

I have carried out a research on this and would want to present to you, a way, I think, can benefit most of us. (my assumption)

I have tested this experiment, I am proposing, with myself, with the testers who have contacted me for the above problem and yes, it is, Tester Tested!

Why should you believe me, especially with this post?

It is simple, when you see something wrong, it gives you one more point, to think, to be careful not to commit the mistake, of my experiment.

_ Why cant you test without documents? _

Let me take an example -

Shyam is a tester, working with a company XYZ. He has no documents to test something which he has been asked to test. He has no knowledge of the product he is supposed to test and his seniors are not willing to experiment by having documents to test as they have got accustomed to test in a haphazard way and the most important of all, they de motivate Shyam by telling, he *does not know how to test*.

Assume, if Shyam is OK with what is happening for him -
  1. He would, first of all, may not be doing an efficient testing.
  2. He could raise features as bugs.
  3. He could remain in a state of not knowing the importance of documents.
  4. He could work more harder than what ideally a smart tester would.
  5. He would not be sure, if he has tested a feature completely.
  6. He feels, he is not competent, when he tries to look out for a job.

Now, let me tell you the experiment I propose -

  1. First, spend some time, understanding the product by using it. When I mean *use the product*, I would want Shyam to note down the testable scenarios while using the product, make a list and refine the list.
  2. Understand the technology, no technology lives without documentation, that is available in the internet.
  3. Take a look at the bugs, customer has reported earlier and think, which is the most difficult part, analyze, how did the bug slip from the company and landed in customers belt.
  4. Start writing -

When I say start writing, these are the points I expect every Shyam to write -

  • Write an understanding document about the product, get it reviewed by someone, who wants to become a better tester in your organization, or catch hold of the manager, if either of them deny, no harm in leaking the document to someone outside, who could be of help to you.
  • Join those discussion forums, focused on the technology and product, you are supposed to test. Wait, before you join, prepare a set of good questions, you may want to ask to the community, which will help you, test more efficiently than what you could have.
  • Write a Use Case document. A use case document, to my (mis)understanding, is a document, that describes, *What are the possible and impossible ways, does an end user, use the product?* and of course, get it reviewed.
  • From each Use Case, generate a test case, chuck out the one the other testers are using, and evaluate and get it reviewed and compared with the earlier draft that the so called testers are using, test the test case document for its effectiveness.
  • Further, once you test, write a crystal clear report.
  • It does not stop there, take time, immense energy, to write a User guide, get it reviewed by the end users of similar product.

Congradulations Shyam ! You are many steps ahead of people, who crib, for, having to test without documents.

_ Why cant you test without documents? _

There are better ways, I might agree but I disagree, unless you come out with it.

"The probable way to test without documents, is to write one of your own"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan


Disclaimer: This,unfortunately, is my own experimented, so called *good result* yielding technique to go about testing without documents. In any case, you follow, to find out, it is not good for you, is a lesson, you learnt in a hard way. I can take the credit of imparting a lesson to you. I have missed the point of "You need to work very hard to make it happen" , intentionally. Kindly refer some articles of Test Experts to get more clarity of *How to test without documents?*. Shyam is not the original name and has been change from Pradeep Soundararajan for privacy reasons.


Tarik Sheth said...

Good Post and good learning too.thanks, keep up the good work Pradeep

Ramanujam manchikalapudi said...

Especially this post is something brings out the inquisitiveness in everybody's thoughts to learn more.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi All,

Please find fault with my posts hereafter.

The best way to improve myself is by asking you readers to find fault in me.

Of course, when I mean, *find fault*, I want you to challenge me on the logical front, creative front but not on spelling mistakes and typos.

I am sure, each one of you would start doing that and help me in becoming a good tester.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pradeep,

thanks for this article yaar. I wil learn a lot from here and i thank you for writing is simple way. I liked to read all articles. gud website for testers

GURUNATH said...

Thank u verymuch.Rightnow idont have any documents.i will follow this.i hope it will helps a lot.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


This post was written long back and I insist you to look at some of my recent posts that has more wonderful information about exploratory testing [ Exploratory testing - Simultaneous learning, test design and test execution -- Cem Kaner ]