"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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tools that slow you at work !

Hi Reader,

Its been slightly more than a month since I started blogging and the response from you all is .... ( you must be knowing it better than me , because it is you who gave the feedback )

I have been sitting idle at my workplace for quite sometime now and as people say "idle mind is a devil's workshop" I wanted to change it as "idle mind is a tester's workshop".

Before I leave my current organization, I was wondering what are the things that slowed down my speed at work so that I could give somethig better for the company I may land up ! [ still looking :-( , any takers ? ]

While I was listing , I found something that really brings down the pace of a software engineer's speed of work ! ( inclusive of my fellow developers )

Most of you who faced the same problem could guess it right - TOOLS !

__ Tools that slow you at work ! ___

"Now pradeep , tools are used to augment the work speed and not slow down , shut your mouth and dont let your devil rule you" - if you intend to say something similar after reading this much .. pls dont go ahead reading ... still if you want to read , I am (un)lucky :D !

  • Harbour problem - Well, I was once working on a tool that accesses a product via USB port. It was working fine as long as another tool which also accesses USB port was installed into my PC for a different purpose. I had a tough time figuring out how to make them co-operate with each other.Finally it ate sometime of mine , say 2 hours , had I not let this info to my team mates , a total of 2*4 = 8 man hour or even more or less would have gone in figuring out the same.
  • Inconsistency problem - Not Well , Once my colleague came complaining that a tool was not working on his PC but it worked fine one mine ( I mean, my PC ). He sat on my PC for working on it and of course he too is facing a deadline , had he started digging out the solution for that particular tool not working on his PC he would have spent more time but still 1 hour of man hour lost. Now taking that every PC has a problem to work for a tool , 4*1 = 4 man hours are lost in a day. ( Of course approx values ,after all I am not reporting to anyone to give exact figures)
  • Reboot Now ! - A usual stuff that needs to be done when some tool is not working and this eats around 10 minutes and happens atleast twice a day every 2 days in a week and hence 10*2*4(days in a week)*4(people) = 4 man hours in a week is lost.
  • Send report ! - Whenever something crashes , Microsoft wants to see who is competing with them and you see this message of send report and we usually dont do send. This ignorance of all of us makes Microsoft unable to get the required data for solving any issues if any, due to their product.( Let's say this adds to a very negligable part and ignore)
  • Tools with limited licence - This is something everyone may agree. Every company I have been has a shortage of tool license and this usually contributes to 1 hour of time loss per week per person of the company. So it is 1 * ( number of your workers) = loss time due to this factor.
  • Tools that work on the server - Some tools are designed to work on servers while you are just another client to it. It simply makes you to wait invariably and you sometimes see "Time out" message. Indeed , it is "Our Time out" and not "Server Timed out".Occurs atleast once a week for a person and last for 10 - 15 mins before a person can start the work and hence , 10 mins * ( no of workers ) * 5 ( working days )= loss of time due to this factor for a week.
  • Build machines - Build machines contribute to a major factor , I have not used them extensively but I have seen many people firing a build overnight and morning they see build failed half way and if it is an entire product release build , it for sure takes nearly 4-6 hours for the build to complete. Assuming that this happens once a week for every developer or a small group of testers or release engineers - 5 hours * ( no of people firing a build ) * 5 ( working days ) = total time lost in waiting for the build during day.This point is very important as developers give the build at somewhere in the afternoon and yet testers are forced to finish their work before COB ! I pray to all build machines to work well in the night.
  • Drivers - I wonder most of the tools I use that interface to hardware have problems with drivers. Each time I find a situation where the hardware is not detected , I need to uninstall and re-install the driver to use that tool. Why not people come out with another tool to uninstall and re-install drivers. Simply this eats 10 minutes per session and occurs to me atleast twice a week. 10 mins * 2 ( occurence ) * ( half the number of workers ) * 5( working days ) = Total time lost in a week due to this factor.

__ End of __ Tools that slow you at work ! ___

Gosh ! taking the total , roughly 30% of our time is lost in managing the issue with tools and for the rest .... there is always ... a meeting.Amidst all these we contribute to profit of the company , isnt that great !

Learnings -

  1. Tools that are to be used extensively should be tested well , else lot of time is lost and the productivity comes down by nearly 30%.
  2. A tool needs more testing than a product which it is aiding to be tested/developed.
  3. People observing an issue with a tool must let the tool company know it and help them to fix the issue.

"Tools that are not tested well are time bombs !"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan

Disclaimer : If you have read this despite me asking you to stop somewhere in this post you are not eligible for negative criticism ( you can , OK ). This is my own opinion with the experiences I have faced and of course I too have seen some robust tools as you may would have.All above are approx values and still is a matter of concern to every organization.The list above is incomplete :-D.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Yahoo Messenger ! Missed Feature ?

Originally uploaded by praldoe.

Hi Reader,

U "Pradeep what's on this post ?"
Me "Something interesting"
U "Ah you are not the one to decide what is interesting to us"
Me "Well , I am pretty sure this would"
U "Come on prove it !"
Me "Simply read the following"

I usually visit an internet cafe/browsing centre near my house and due to frequent visits the owner of the cafe is more or less a fren to me. We keep sharing gyaan about computers and advancement in technology ...

A week before when I was walking out ... he stopped me and I could see some excitement in his face.
"I came across something interesting when I was chatting with my cousin in Holland" he said and continued ...."I wanted to show my new born daughter to my cousin over the webcam while chatting in Yahoo Messenger and he could see the TV channels which was relayed from my TV tuner card instead of our faces in his webcam window."

Holy cow ! I could not believe it and I told him I think it is indeed interesting and I shall have a deeper look at it this weekend. So the weekend is here so is this post !

__Yahoo Messenger ! Missed feature ? ____

Yahoo ! I reproduced the scenario in his own internet cafe with two different machines and I bet you all that you too can reproduce and here is the help you need.

Observation : If a PC has a TV tuner card attached to it and Yahoo Messenger ( Beta ) , your friends elsehwere can see the same channel you are tuned into.

Pre-condition :
1) Your PC has a TV tuner card and a cable connection where you are able to watch the TV channels.
2) Your PC has a broadband internet connection with Yahoo Messenger with Voice ( Beta ) installed and running.
3) Your PC has a webcam.

Steps to Reproduce :
1) Log on to Yahoo Messenger ! ( of course with your username and password )
2) Go to Preferences in Yahoo Messenger and select to view the options available in Webcam tab.
3) On finding 'Camera Source' radio button , click to see the options it displays.
4) Step 3 could lead you to a list - which has a) Your webcam details b) TV Tuner card details.
5) Select the option (b) or TV tuner card as 'Camera Source'.
6) Invite a friend who is online ( or invisible ) to view your webcam.

Result : Your friend is able to view the TV channel you are tuned into.

Primary Analysis : ( with my setup )
1) The frame rate is very less to see a good picture quality.
2) Image size is 320 X 240.
3) Audio data can similarly be routed over to a friends PC.

Advanced Analysis :

1) Today's boom is on iP TV / Set top boxes and Yahoo ! itself could venture into something like this through their existing Messenger by providing a robust codec.
2) Products available in the market, selling for $250 could go bersek.
3) As the bandwidth and system speed ( CPU clock / RAM ) is increased a better quality output can be an obvious expectation.

End user benefit :

1) You can relay your friends who are at another part of the world , a local channel , they could be missing.
2) Without any investment people across the globe can get connected to their local channels.

__ end of __ Yahoo Messenger ! Missed feature ? ___

Now there are two possibilities -

1) You say " Wow ! thats interesting man !".
2) You say " Nope , it didnt interest me anyway".

Whatever , I am happy that you reached the end of this post. See U again chick !

"Eating chicken to test whether it has bird flu is a bad test(taste) case"

Thanks and Regards

Pradeep Soundararajan

Disclaimer : This post reflects my personal opinion and observation and the points mentioned above are my own analysis and has no organization or anyone else bias or involvement with it. This post is my own learning as a tester that a better feature could be embedded into a product and testing could bring out without terming it as a bug.This post is also with no intention of affecting any organization's business or market.I could be completely wrong due to lack of knowledge on the products i know/work/have seen any such phenomenon and I am or completely not responsible if at all it creates any impact.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Testers who burnt their ears !

Hi Reader,

You must have stopped by a shop just to stare at your dream music system ... be it Bose , Sony , Onkyo or even a local made !

Ah ! these have too high output RMS/PMPO values ... let me go for a good headphone ... be it Senhiezer , Philips ...

That movie was too good because it has DTS , Dolby digital , SRS , THX .....

Whatever your choice, you did listen to a lot of music/sound right ? Well then you must know who made you listen to quality music and gave a lot of food for your ears and brain ... trust me you should know this atleast now ...

__ Testers who burnt their ears ___

Every music system released in market have certain statistics and you people are smart that you wont buy the ones without best statistics.

Signal to Noise Ratio : 90 dB
Frequency Response: 18Hz to 22 KHz
THD : 0.01%

Does the above figures attract you ?

Well if you own the best music system or a quality headphone by now , thank the Tester who was behind the scene in giving you that because he may would have burnt his ear !

I was doing product testing of Bluetooth Headphones , the company I worked for was focused to give CD quality music over Bluetooth and yes I too was a part to make it happen but ...

My job involved measuring the quality parameters of the headphone and as per Audio Engineering Society standards for digital audio testing quite a few sinusoids had to be used.

Sinusoid's or sinusoidal waves are considered to be the best bet test data for bringing out the scientific quality of any audio product because it exercises your codec completely.

In the process of giving out the best system , any audio product company would have made several releases and upgrades , no wonder every such release is tested.

In a similar way I must have faced at least 500 or even more.

It is advised by Hearing/Audio community that listening to sinusoid's are harmful ( of course to the listening ear ) and especially when listening from headphone where the speaker is too close to your ears it even more painful !

I also observe in all the companies I have been , it is becoming a common habit to listen to music over headphones while coding/testing or whatever you do with your PC at workplace and home which is not good for your ears on a long time run.( Not everyone though )

Who cares ? ( Is this your thought , in an act of ignorance )
You better ask those people who have burnt their ears , Stop ! even thinking of searching ... I am here who belong to one of the testing community with burnt ears.

Well let me take those techies looking at this post for some technical gyaan ...

Once there was a bug/defect in the headphone I was working with.

Bug : The buffer used to flush out all data when it had lost connection with the source.
[ :P , there was another bug that connection with the source was lost randomly ]
( mind it , I am talking about Bluetooth wireless headphones )

How did that bug burn my ears ?

Well , as you all may know , the speaker on the headphone was the poor guy who was forced to play such a flushed data from the bad guy ( buffer ). And there was a much poor guy listening to the speaker [ twas me :( ]

Anything not pleasing ears by default is noise and I got to hear a lot of noise in the process of reproducing it and making a note of observations and as an effort to be a good tester , I had to research on it and give optimum data supporting the bug.

Developers tried to fix it but again resulting in me retesting and crisping my burnt ears !

Gosh ! took a lot of time to fix both the bugs and in between one day my manager wanted to see the behaviour and put over the headphone ... listening to his favourite song ...

Kshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ! - told the system ( ... noise )
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw" - replied my manager ( out of pain )

"Pradeep isn't this painful ?" told this looking at me with pity !
"If I too am a human like you , yes " was my simple reply.

"Oh , take care , we need you for further testing , don't burn your ears , use a 2.1 speaker and don't listen to that crash( from our headphone ) hereafter ".

I thought " only when it pains others they get to know what is my state" , how sad !

__ End of __ Testers who burnt their ears ! __

So all of you listening to good quality music thank those testers who must have burnt their ears to give you the best !

For Testers , be very careful , I was pretty naive when this happened , although today I have as good ears as you people I may would have lost my hearing capability had I continued with my mistake.

I bow to all those audio engineers across the globe who would have burnt their ears in order to give all of us best audio systems !

"Behind every quality music you listen , there is a pair of burnt ears !"

Thanks and Regards

Pradeep Soundararajan

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Are you a Tester or Toolsmith ?

Hi Reader,

Thanks for all those mails and hope you have received my individual replies !

I finally found a good reason to make a post today and I consider this post to be a very important one because ....

"Well are you a Tester ?" has anyone asked you this question and if "yes" , by default can you guess what is the next question ....

"What tools do you know ?" Am I right ? As a tester I have come across the above question soooooooo many times and each time ..... can you guess my answer ....zero.... Surprizing isnt it ?

__ Are you a Tester or Toolsmith ?___

Many people after reading my post have mailed me asking for tools I know or reccomend them to learn , some guidelines about the tools and lots more on tools .... only a handful asked something about testing. Why did the majority of people ask about tools ?

There is a general misconception about testing in India !
( I have not been anywhere else , if it applies take it , else ignore at your own risk )

Where have we been misguided -

1) There are umteen number of training centres who have a board and ad claiming that they teach testing , really. I am still wondering whether testing can be taught by those people. Ah ! Pradeep then what do they do ? They simply teach you tools and make you a ............toolsmith.

2) Now Pradeep , what/who is a toolsmith ?
To know this answer talk to those people who have attended the tools training and ask them to speak about testing for 10 mins without mentioning a single tool [ of course should make sense ]( If you are one among them , talk to yourself )

3) How many people who have undergone the tools training in those centres know really what testing means ?
Again a handful only (i am optimistic here ) ! Most of the people spend time in learning the tools and simply ignore to learn about testing. Wait , if you are not convinced here this is your second chance to stop reading this.

4) Are you a member of any Test/QA focussed yahoo group or any forum or any other such group ? Can you open and see how many questions are there on tools and how many are there on learning the concepts about testing ?
I too notice as you have may would have noticed that discussion is more on how to use a particular tool and lots of gyaan about career options , openings and tools to know to get into that job.

a) Try putting up a simple question in such a group as to "What is regression testing?".You will see different people answering different things for the same question instead put up a question on tool , you will get the best answer from many. Are we going in the right path ?
b) Go through a few resume/CV of Test/QA engineers and more people back their tools experience than their knowledge about testing/technology.

5) Industry people are misguiding - Its a cycle , unfortunately , yes , industry people also contribute to misguiding the young fresh minds to learn tools or get a certificate of tool knowledge. The paper ad says "We want testers with knowledge of xxxrunner , xxxrunner , silk , cotton..." but when you go and sit in interview you would have to answer more questions on tools than testing , do you know that they actually are not looking for testers but looking for toolsmith's ?

6) Now how come I am offered as a Test Engineer when I just know to operate tools ?
Yes , in this industry you are a Test Engineer becuase the company recruiting you knows if its printed in offer letter as "We are happy to appoint you as our toolsmith" , either you would not join or would look for an change at their expense.They are T(f)ooling you !

7) Oh ! Then what is a tool and what relation does it have to a tester ?
A tester should be a person who is able to architect the tool and should be able to harness the tool for his creation of test cases. A tool should serve as a helper to a tester and the tool ideally should not be your bread butter or jam.

8) So do you mean a tester should not know any tools at all ?
Absolutely not ! I mean first a person should be a tester and then learn tools or do it parallely.

9) So you mean to say you will not learn any tool ?
Absolutely not ! I will learn when it is required and not because some XYZ company wants people with a particular tool knowledge.

10) Is it because you dont know any tool you are talking like this ? ( nonsense , if it can make you happy )
Absolutely not ! I too know a couple of tools but those are custom written tools based on project requirement and I have wrote one tool in my life in Perl ( although i sought help to write it ).

11) Stop the crap and tell what do you want to say finally ?
I simply want to make sense to all those Toolsmith's (Test Engineers) who are being misguided that "a tester is a person who knows tools" and also want to tell them "wake up and progress , the fun is more at higher altitudes"

__ End of __ Are you a Tester or Toolsmith ?___

If someone has helped you to reach here , help your friends if they too were misguided by someone :-D !

"Tools dont make testers , Testers make tools (to break the system) "

Thanks and Regards
Pradeep Soundararajan

Disclaimer : (If you have read above please read this too) The intent of the post is to make a small effort to augment a toolsmith to become a great tester in the future.All above are my own opinions based on experience I have had as a tester and do not get biased by any of the above statements.I am not responsible if you complain or get into any issues against your training centre or the company you are working as a toolsmith or anywhere , the above learning( if at all ) you may would have had is at your own risk , False.I could be wrong anywhere or everywhere and that is my limitation.Just in case you are angry on me after reading this please check guilt-o-meter before you fire me.

T(F)ool Joke : My friend spent 4 lacs for his engineering degree , he didnt get a job , after an year the same friend's spent 2000 to get a tool knowledge certificate , he then got a job , he then realized 4 lacs was a waste.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Sir Thomas Alva Edison - The First Tester !

Hi Reader,

Let us start writing or reading this post singing ....

"Happy Birthday To You , Happy Birthday Dear Edison , Happy Birthday To you !"

Had you read my first post , you would see Edison's name because he changed my life downside up. Yes I owe everything I do and did to Sir Thomas Alva Edison becuase without HIM , I wouldnt be whoever I am.

I was so called dumb till my class 10 and lost an year of academics despite getting a first class result in my 10th grade. In this duration of one year I wasnt clear what I would be but ....

Twas someday night 11 o clock when my father woke me up from sleep and asked me to watch a movie "Edison , The Man". Hmm I was sleepy but still sat infront of the TV for the sake of following my dad's words.

Slowly as the movie proceeded I lost sleep and that is where Edison started inspiring me... the movie went on and on and ended showing the death of Sir Thomas Alva Edison. Tears rolled from my eyes , I didnt have any control over it and it kept rolling.

It took me years to realize I hadnt seen the death of edison but a birth of new hope/ambition/fire in me.I then worked and worked ... and today I too have a dream ... "The things I do in this life should make The Man greet me in the eternal world and I know he will"

Talking about the current things I have achieved -

1) State level best exhibit award for a project "Telephone based remote control of home and industrial appliances" - This project you can find it anywhere but the invention I did in it was to control gas stoves in home from a remote place and also valves in gas turbine power-plants". This enables you to put the gas stove "off" after you come out of the house , in India its so common that we come out of the house and your mom/wife tells you "Oops ! I doubt whether gas stove is off"

2) National level prize for best paper - "Wireless Transmission of Heart Signal using Bluetooth Technology" - this project not only got me a job after engineering but also made me go places like .. Wipro GE medical systems , Siemens Medical , BPL medical , Avanttec , Impulsesoft and so on.Except Avanttec no other company was willing to grant us fund for this project but we couldnt take it up with Avanntec as well as our college head was not broad minded to allow for such a research.

3) Ewacs - A project which many people I know cant forget for their lifetime ... want to know what is this ? check out ... EWACS
Will you be surprized if I tell you that we got appreciation from -
1) Dr PS Goel - Director , ISRO
2) Mr N R Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor , Infosys
3) Mr H Sudhindra , Joint Director , DRDO
4) Dr VS Ramamurthy , Secretary , Dept of Science and Technology of India.
5) Director , VP - McAfee ( I was working there then )
6) Many people from the public - which was beyond a dream come true and we were flocked with some media news on TV and news papers.

4) A project which I have completed a month back , can very well make a huge impact in all your lives but just that I am looking for right time , right people for the right project I have.

5) The biggest appreciation I have got as a Tester came from one of the world renowed Test Expert - James Bach ...
"Can I show your work to my other students" he travels across the globe teaching many universities - these were the words which added charcoal to the burning desire to prove to the world that I can test well.

All this and more to come I owe to my mentor Sir Thomas Alva Edison !

"Now pradeep , where is the post of Edison as the first tester?" could be your question and here it goes .. ( pretty small ... dont worry about the time :-D )

__ Start of __ Sir Thomas Alva Edison - The First Tester___

Lets take up a bulb ...

HE experimented with 1600 filament materials including ... his colleague's beard hair , coconut fibre and anything and everything -- out of the box.

a) As an inventor although he was experimenting but considering as a tester , given a bulb the filaments he used forms great test cases.

b) He wrote 40,000 page document ( hand written and not pdf file ) for his experimentation before he tested it for 40 hours - Ah good documentation skills are always a mark of a great tester.

c) HE could think of 3000 filaments which formed an excellent learning of collecting Test Data.

Coming to phonograph , HIS favourite invention - HE tested his invention by singing "Mary had a little lamb" rhyme .. ( had we invented we would have told some gals name in mind with whom we were in love with at that point of time :-D )

a) After testing his phonograph Edison said "I am afraid with something that works for the first time" - Hmm ! why dont developers/unit testers tell this or learn from this ?

b) Today we hear songs and enjoy and this phonograph was the mother of all the CD , DVD you use and the Blue Ray you may use in future.

Last but not least -

He earned so much money out of his inventions and spent the entire thing on one project -

Seperation of iron from its ore... Finally it didnt work and this is considered to be the biggest failure but I say today to the Birthday Man - this did put more fire in me and many others.

a) He spent 10 years working on this project and never gave up until his entire money was depleted.
b) He passed tough times and yet never gave up his efforts to come out with an invention for seperating iron from its ore... and the Tester was Tested !

__ There is no End of __ Sir Thomas Alva Edison __

"Sir , While I/we march ahead to meet you , come forward in helping us , we welcome you back to Earth"
Thanks and Regards
Pradeep Soundararajan

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tester in Toilet !

Hi Reader,

Again thanks , thanks and thanks for all your support , feedback and encouragement ! Words are'nt enough !

I dont know how interesting this post would be for people revisiting and for first timers here .. this could be a wrong sample :-D , but I did wanted to write about 'this'. What a bad english ,mentioning "this" without explaining/mentioning it prior to the sentence. Well anyhow i meant "Toilet Paper Towel or Toilet Paper" as 'this and 'it' too :-D.

__ Tester in Toilet __

You wouldn't be surprized if I tell you that "you too visit toilet often" but the difference between the ones in our office and the ones in our home is simple .... a toilet paper/towel dispenser.

Our office is equipped with Kimberly Clark Professional Toilet Paper/Towel Dispenser , a widely used product in most places like IT companies , Hotels , Pubs ..etc.

I visited their site and it tells "Innovative brands for everyday Life" , good to hear that !

I notice that lot of people struggle to pull a paper/paper-towel out of it ...

1) The papers are stacked and we need to pull it from the bottom.
2) There is a rare chance that a person pulls only one paper , the design is something like "pull one paper and the ones that fall down by your action are free"
3) Should we be educated to use such a product , my friend told "prad , you dont know to use it".
4) Usually it is touched/pulled with wet hands , the other papers you dont pull becomes wet , is this a design limitation of such a complex product.
5) Of course I am aware that there are different variants and I am talking about the ones available in some of the MNC IT companies I have been with.
6) To stack back the ones which falls down accidently ( in fact on most of occasions ) is another complex facto.
7) On one side of life we say "Save paper" and in the toilet we dont care if an extra paper falls down and it is the product's design that should help people to "save paper".
8) Today is a generation where printers are so sophisticated to handle paper jams and I have also witnessed a printer which takes one paper at a time despite the paper being 20gsm ( very thin ) and why not a simple product like Toilet paper dispenser have such. Who is stopping ?
9) Although all the papers we use at office , clubs , resorts , hotels... are recycled but why to recycle something which was not used at all ?

Now as a true product tester -

1) A tester as wrongly concepted is not a person who not only reports bugs but should be able to suggest the right design change to make the feature/product more user friendly.
2) A tester should not limit himself by just observing and not reporting something.
3) A tester should be very observant and should be able to recollect information from brain and heart.
4) A good designer can be a good tester and vice versa too hold good.
5) A life of a good tester is havoc , he isnt satisfied with any product.
6) A life of a good tester is phenomenal , he is satisfied of doing his job/virtue in and outside the office.

__ End of _ Tester in Toilet __

"Beware ! Testers are in toilet too"

Thanks and Regards

Pradeep Soundararajan

Disclaimer : The intention of this post is no way to pin point the limitation or draw back of any product but just to make a point that things can be made simpler and easier to use than its current way.The points made about tester are solely my own imagination/assumptions and it is not extracted from anywhere else and also based on my own experiences.I and my experiences could be wrong so dont take it !

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Monkey Tester and Peanuts !

Hi Reader,

Many many thanks to you all for the mails/comments/appreciation and moreover encouragement and learning you people are showering. With this happening I am being made more responsible for posting something good. I always make an attempt hopefully I pass this time too.

"Monkey Testing" a phrase every tester should have come across and I too did , thankfully in my first week of my career. "Pradeep would do monkey testing for a while..." manager announced in meeting , it was a bit embarrassing as I was not aware what is it and once the word monkey came in , it made me think that the company hired me for that. Yet I did for the peanuts I was supposed to get as per the offer letter.

I recently came across this wonderful link http://www.softtest.org/sigs/material/nnyman2.htm
which talks so well about monkey testing.Only after going through this link I got to know the concept of an automated monkey tester :-D.

I am sharing one such experience as a monkey tester -

__ Monkey Tester and Peanuts ____

After testing an embedded product for various releases and fixes I formed my own opinion of where the major bugs reside and once there came a situation where there was less time to test ( when compared to the one week my manager usually would give ) for the entire regression cycle. I know it was painful to sit for long hours and keep on executing the cases as my peanuts never rose even after me doing that..

1) I formed a strategy as to first look at those areas which have been the most significant ones for the bugs to exist and co exist ( co existance of bugs , isnt it interesting ) in large numbers.

2) I did test those areas and was lucky to catch major crashes/hangs/error states and blocked the relates cases and was able to give them expected results at expected time. ( I had to work on weekends still )

3) Still my peanut count remained the same !

As days , experience , learnings and mistakes went on ... I learnt a lot and became to be called as a "good tester" [ good tester - is a relative term , my seniors and peers felt so and its not my own assumption that i am good ]

__ End of (my life as) Monkey Tester and Peanuts ! ( i quit that job ) ___

Now how will I test when a product is given to me and the time is short of the actual planned or proposed time -

1) Ask the developer/lead/manager/release notes or all of them -

a) Is it a bug fix release ?
b) Is it a feature upgrade or new feature added release ?
c) What are the modules/feature/functionality that has been touched by coders.
d) What are their opinion of robust and non robust areas existing in the product.
e) Is it going to be injected into the market and what are the common functionalities the end user would widely use.
f) You can form your own list but ensure you dont waste time collecting junk info.

2) In turn I would tell them back -

a) What is my understanding of what I have receieved from them.
b) What would be my scope of testing.
c) What would be my limitation of testing.
d) What could impact the customer due to testing it for lesser time than planned.
e) What is the change of vectors in graph if more/planned time is given. ( for managers who are pleased by graphical data rather than numbers on excel sheet )
f) What or How much they can expect out of the time given and nothing beyond that.

3) Do's n Dont's -

a) Dont spoil your relationship with developers/managers/leads/any others during such a crucial phase , its understood that some people are sick and you have to pass through them.
b) Do say to yourself that you have to give your best and work for the product's success.
c) Dont believe that monkey testing alone is enough even if its catching up bugs than execution of your test cases ,it could be that your test cases are not well built or something major is missing.
d) Do take care of your health , working late nights would increase the peanuts , both for you and your family doctor.
e) Dont hesitate to report that you did not do a good job if at all , it will put them in a safer mode to expect some bad comments from the customer ( as usual :-D ).
f) Do ask for a good pay or hike if you can plan something similar or better than this.
g) Do/Dont quit the company if they fail to recognize you despite your smart work. I may quit !

"When you learn more and more and come out of 'monkey tester' period,
you would still be called as - grown up monkey"

Thanks and Regards

Pradeep Soundararajan

Disclaimer : This post is not to show how freshers are treated in companies when they join as testers but to make them aware that every tester by fortunate or unfortunate have to be/do monkey tester/ing and need to learn things from that too. The do's and dont's and all other points mentioned here are my own views based on my own experience and learnings/mistakes could differ from person to person.There are more points and learnings I have had but wanted to make it as brief as possible.Constructive comments are welcomed big time but dont make ( me ) the monkey angry with destructive comments :-D.