"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.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The man who inspired me through his notes

Hi Reader,

There is always something special about people who inspire others. We humans do not fix a person in mind and start looking at his work to get inspiration but it all happens either accidentally or through the passion we have developed towards something.

When I started looking food to feed my passion towards testing, I came across James Bach, accidentally and the fire started there. When you know a person, you get to know his circle of friends and similarly, when I got to know James Bach, he then mentioned a few names to me who were equally wise people in the field. I am not sure how many of you know Jerry Weinberg but for sure he is one such mentor for one and all in the field and outside too.

After joining the SHAPE forum, I started wondering "Is there anything that Jerry does not know?"

Recently, Michael Bolton's work made me to inspire him. There is another thing that inspired me about Micheal, that he augmented himself from being a student of James Bach to becoming a peer to James. It is so much of hard work and dedication to get there is what I know.

_ The man who inspired me through his notes _

Now lets start talking about the notes. If you right click and open the link and go through the 4th page in this link , you would come to know, a fantastic exploratory testing exercise that Michael Bolton carried out in flight from Delhi to Amsterdam.

I want you to first, spend some time reading his notes and explanation, before you continue reading this.

Assuming that you have gone through the notes, I continue...

How and what did Pradeep learn from Michael Bolton's notes ?

  1. I learnt that learning and practicing testing need not happen infront of a PC and an opportunity to learn and practice something is hidden in the idle/free time we claim to have.
  2. "Exploratory testing done well is systematic", as James says.
  3. If I were the company whose product was put in flight; I would request all the passengers to share their experience of using the product and would keep enhancing the product rather than allowing good testers to have a good time testing these products. (That's a testing skill too, a testing service company or a product company should possess it, as per my perspective)
  4. I did make a note of the approach of Michael, to note down the observation, to make a sketch of the product, understand the product ASAP, decide on the scope of testing, think intuitive and then all this leads to find as many bugs as possible.
  5. I also did learn that while taking notes, be descriptive enough to make people imagine the product that underwent testing. I seriously could imagine the in flight entertainment system, without having traveled or used such a system in flight.
  6. As he says "taking such notes helps in modeling and framing a strategy to test a product".
  7. Mere learning is not important; I too am going to take notes. Not that I want to ape what experts do but am very curious about the thinking process of the experts and would want to know "how did they think to arrive at what they have arrived on?"I also learnt to make notes from others notes, if I happen to get it.

Michael, I have some questions which I would love to see the answers as a comment to this post. You could help a couple of testers looking into this post by answering the following questions apart from me.

  1. Before you boarded the flight, did you think of testing something or in other words, were you prepared to do some testing after getting into flight?
  2. What was running in your mind when you were taking notes or in other words, did you feel you were doing whatever you did, as a practice towards developing exploratory testing approach?
  3. Have you informed the bugs you found, to the company who owns the product or in other words, do you think it is good for testers who are going to take notes, after reading your moleskine notes should inform the company about the bugs they found?
  4. Do you find anything else that you can share with us regarding the same?

Last but not least, kudos to Jon Bach for helping Michael Bolton to reach to such a level of note taking capability. Forgive me all, I am too young and naive to appreciate these people but still I did :(.

_ End of _The man who inspired me through his notes _

"When you scribble something on a paper, you never know that an upcoming artist could get inspired by it"

Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan

pradeep.srajan@gmail.com

8 comments:

Michael said...

Hi Pradeep...

First of all, thank you for the kind words. In reply to your questions...

1. Before you boarded the flight, did you think of testing something or in other words, were you prepared to do some testing after getting into flight?

No--I just wanted to watch a movie. However, I found the bugs in the system to be more entertaining--for a while at least--than any of the movies that were available.

2. What was running in your mind when you were taking notes or in other words, did you feel you were doing whatever you did, as a practice towards developing exploratory testing approach?

Yes, it was a form of practice. I had just recently started buying Moleskines, and I had recently the Exploratory Testing Research Summit. I wanted to practice consciously the skills that we had discussed at that meeting, and I also had in mind the idea to produce an example of those skills for the Rapid Software Testing course, of which James Bach and I are co-authors.

3. Have you informed the bugs you found, to the company who owns the product or in other words, do you think it is good for testers who are going to take notes, after reading your moleskine notes should inform the company about the bugs they found?

I thought of that, but I've been busy. Others are welcome to contact KLM on my behalf, though. (grin)

4. Do you find anything else that you can share with us regarding the same?

Well, my advice is to practice taking notes, and to revisit and review them every now and then, even if there's no specific reason to do so. One thing that I've noticed is that the various modes thinking or observing something, writing something down, and reviewing it all create a stronger web of memorable relationships between the things that you're observing and recording.

Again, thanks for your blog entry.

---Michael B.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Michael Bolton,

Many thanks for your comment. It is a great honour to me to see your reply.

you said Well, my advice is to practice taking notes, and to revisit and review them every now and then, even if there's no specific reason to do so. One thing that I've noticed is that the various modes thinking or observing something, writing something down, and reviewing it all create a stronger web of memorable relationships between the things that you're observing and recording.

It is a great point and this point from you, make me and could be other testers too realize the importance of taking notes, to become a better tester.

Not sure whether all of us would be as fortunate as you to find a product with such interesting bugs :D

Expecting to learn more from your future notes.

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Good Post Pradeep --

I would say this is your best blog post so far ... Very precicely laid out and has a message and lesson. Well done.


Good to see that you are following foot steps of Michael Bolton, Jon bach and Big B of testing James ...
I am also in the same path ...

While in toronto - I and Micheal meet quite regularly over lunch ...
Last meeting was about a week back.

Shrini Kulkarni said...

>>>Not sure whether all of us would be as fortunate as you to find a product with such interesting bugs :D

Pradeep - what you are saying? you do find a product that does not have interesting bugs? --- They all are around you ... you just need to develop eyes/mind (or senses) like "Michael" to see them --

Perhaps you wanted to say "develop senses to see bugs (interesting or otherwise) in everything around us that no one else see."

A question for you -- What is an interesting bug? What aspect(s) of a bug an interesting or uninteresting?

shrini

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Shrini,

Many thanks for the compliments and encouragement.

You are lucky that you are able to meet Michael this frequently but wouldn't it be better if you had shared this on a personal mail rather than including it in a comment?

A question for you -- What is an interesting bug? What aspect(s) of a bug an interesting or uninteresting?

Every bug can be interesting and uninteresting depending on the bug report a tester writes.

I kindly request you to let me know what are the aspects of a bug before I brand them interesting or uninteresting?

minu said...

pradeep you are inspiring me through this blog and after reading this tester tested blog I am learning a lot and now i love my job.

thanks you a lot pradeep , keep writing becos I want to learn a lot from here.

Shrini Kulkarni said...

>>>>>Every bug can be interesting and uninteresting depending on the bug report a tester writes.

I am surprised that "it is bug report that makes a bug interesting or not" - I was thinking that you are going to say - "It depends upon who is asking and how testers feels in explaining the bug". A bug report is like a Police FIR. An FIR can not make the case interesting. Right?

>>>>>>I kindly request you to let me know what are the aspects of a bug before I brand them interesting or uninteresting?

You used that word saying "Not sure whether all of us would be as fortunate as you to find a product with such interesting bugs". So I thought you have a notion of interesting bugs in a product.

If you ask me -- An interesting bug is one that is deeply hidden in the product, something that is hard to find, something that does not manifests itself in clear terms, something makes developer faint, something that makes "Tester" to look as hero, something that demostrates testers ability to look from a different eye than any one else, something that makes PM to say "thank god we haver testers" Enough?

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Shrini,

Many thanks for the detailed explanation.

It is good for the testing community, if we have different views from each other.

I am confident that I am learning new things from you and do keep your views(comments) flowing.