"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.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Injustice to testers - I fight

Hi Reader,

"Testers are not treated in par with developers" - is this what you think I would be writing in this post? Actually, No.

Instead, I would be writing how...

1. Customer are cheating themselves by cheating testers.
2. How the Indian software companies management is going wrong w.r.t to testing.
3. Indian testers are being deprived of knowledge and exposure.

_ Injustice to testers - I fight _

"Pradeep, are you trying to create a hype or do you have evidence to support your claims?"

I am a tester and this is my blog dedicated to testing because I am a passionate tester. This is no media channel and I am no journalist.

It happened and its happening in the companies I have been and also I hear the same from my friends in other companies.

What's going wrong?

India is a place where technologies like 3G, GPS and other technologies which has not completely penetrated into Indian market are being developed by software companies and not just development but testing too. Wait, that's not wrong.

Testers test the products developed in simulated or emulated environment in the lab of their respective companies. Wait, that's not wrong.

Once these products reach a mature level , the products are put to Inter Op Testing and it usually happens in Europe.

I have come across a couple of companies who send developers for Inter Op testing. Unfortunately dumb customers support that.

( Just think ) A tester who tests the product for years together in simulated environment never gets a chance to see the product working in real time scenario. A developer gets to develop the product and learns more about the technology and product during such IOT he experiences.

Is it right on the management to expect a tester to have complete knowledge about the product when the tester never gets to see the real world?

Is it right on the management to catch hold of a tester for a bug customer has found?

Is it right on the management to rate the tester based on number of bugs missed/found?

Is it right on the management to explain, "this is what customer wants and if developers go for IOT, they can fix it too" when people like me question about the injustice?

Is it right on the management to be partial to developers but claim, "we are an equal opportunity employer".

Is it right on the customer to get angry for finding a bug at field test without insisting testers on real time environment?

Is it right on the customer to be comfortable about having a developer sent for IOT?

Is it right on the developers to call a tester and ask "Hey, I am calling from IOT site, could you please help me in doing this test" ?

No wonder I am frustrated about these things happening to a tester around me, I learnt the following -

  1. I no more believe a company, which claims, "We are equal opportunity employer".
  2. I have heard many times the management speaking in all hands meet "Test team is our backbone for quality of the products we develop" and I would laugh at that hereafter.
  3. I lower my respect towards such a customer.
  4. This makes me more skeptical about my own work and it becomes hard to believe I have tested a product well.
  5. This makes me less confident about the knowledge/experience of the product I have tested.
  6. The quality of a product depends not only by following quality standards such as CMM or ISO but also on the attitude the management and a customer has towards a tester.
  7. Developers are partially testers, just that they are on site testers. If developers find 5 bugs and fixes 4 during IOT, testers can find 20 bugs during IOT, which still can be fixed by the developer. If it requires a developer on IOT that does not mean a tester is not required.
  8. Many Test Managers don't even consider this as a problem for their testers growth and yet continue to push testers to do good work.
  9. If I were in the management, I would talk or brief the customer the importance of having the tester on site for IOT and get the funds for it instead of answering my tester "Sorry, the customer has not allocated funds for testers to travel".
  10. Most of the Indian IT companies are developer friendly and deprives the learning opportunity for testers.
  11. <>

_ Injustice to testers - I fight _

I know people who would oppose this post of mine are the testers who have been on site and are happy of what they have got without bothering what is happening to other testers.

Look dear testers, I know a very reputed company in India where none of the testers have seen the real world of the products they test but developers keep traveling so often to IOT and other conferences. All testers get is an e-mail... "Hi , Chocolates at my desk, please help yourselves".

Had a tester traveled for IOT, he would come back and send a mail "Hi, Lot of bugs on your code, please help yourselves."

"Developers are ready to do testing, provided they travel and see other parts of the world"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan


Disclaimer: If you felt guilty, I wanted it to happen. If you haven't felt guilty, you are arrogant. If you are a tester who is facing this and you keep quiet after reading this, you deserve what is happening to you. If you are someone who felt I am complaining against all the IT companies in India, you are wrong. If you are someone who felt a need to change how things are happening, India is on the verge of improving further because of people like you.

Note: This post is not from someone, who is greedy about going on site but is from someone who is concerned about his peers who work very hard but are deprived a chance to develop themselves to become a better tester in the domain.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Answering the telephone puzzle

Hi Reader,

If you do not know what puzzle I put up in my previous post - read it now and then come back here to know how exciting the following information is.

Thanks for coming back and also welcome to those who have made an attempt to crack the puzzle.

_Answering the telephone puzzle_

I first want to announce the winner of the puzzle :
Sameer Chaudary . Congradulations Sameer!!

Many congrads to all others who made an attempt and sent me a mail. Some where close but most of them were wrong. I am impressed that quite a few freshers too made a great attempt to crack the puzzle.

Also the winner of the "best documentation recieved" is :
Suresh Marappa . Congradulations Suresh !

How could Sameer solve it?

This puzzle was simple to him as he had done the same mistake as people in my company did but still he does deserve the prize since he exhibited one quality of a good tester of being able to recollect the past learning.

If an excellent tester had solved it, it would be this way...

1. Ask me "What is your extension number?"

2. Ask me questions to try distinguishing whether humans or machines are causing this.

3. Ask me "What is my landline number and bangalore telephone exchange codes?"

4. Ask me "Whether is it really a missed call or are you not there when they call?"

5. Ask me "What time do you get the maximum number of calls or what is your working time?"

5. Ask me"Did you call back and ask one of them; how they reached my extension?"

Well that solved the puzzle, if I answer the above questions.

6. Further "List out all other possbilities"

Now, you would be interested to know who is that excellent tester who did crack the puzzle with his excellent approach. It is none other than my Guru James Bach, one of the leading Test Expert, we have been blessed with.

The only question he missed is to ask about mobile numbers from various service providers in Bangalore as he was running out of time and I had forcibly pulled him to solve this puzzle. However it is an easy task for someone who asked landline number to ask further about mobile numbers. I owe all my success to this great man who has helped me equip myself with skills to approach a problem in a right way through his masterpiece exercises.

How I identified the problem/solved the puzzle : ( I ask myself, a lot of questions. Thanks to James again )

1. "Pradeep is this a technical problem?"
Could be but let me think of other possibilities before I collect some evidence to say it is a technical problem

2. Is it that I am getting a missed call from the same number?
No, different people call at different times and this happens only during office hours and I hardly see a missed call in non office hours. Wow! this looks like its a human error!

3. Now that I got a clue that it could be a human error, what is causing all those people doing the same error?
Hmm! interesting. What is my extension number: 9986. When do people dial 9986?

Hey, wait a minute... Hutch Telecom operating in bangalore has a mobile number series of 99860 xxxxx , 99861 xxxxx , 99862 xxxxx , 99863 xxxxx , 9986x xxxxx

Ah ! I got it, people who who are trying to call a hutch number from their deskphone and missing a ZERO to be dialled as a prefix to make an external call are the ones who give me a missed call.

How do I confirm it? I could be wrong, I need some evidence, I am a tester.

While thinking I got another missed call. I immediately called the person who had given a missed call and asked ...
"Mam, I got a missed call from your number.. "

"Sorry, I tried calling some other number"... "Well may I know whether it is a hutch mobile you were trying to call?" ...
"Yes, how did you know that"...
"Just a guess, thanks for the info and have a nice day"

Bingo! This gives an evidence that it is not a technical problem and it is a human error.

Now why did I put this up as a puzzle to you all?

When you look at the problem as a tester as most of you did, you doubt the technology and conclude that it could be a bug but finally you see a human error causing the problem. This should give you a clue to think of human error also when someone asks you to analyze a bug.

Also, if you notice how I approached you would discover that although I was sure that 9986 and hutch numbers coincidence that created a problem, I did not want to conclude unless I get an evidence. Now that I have an evidence no one can deny my conclusion and that is a success for a tester when developers/managers dont deny a bug.

Also, I am happy that I could think of various other possibilities that I have not listed out here and I am sure whatever the problem had been, I would have found it out in a short while. More than a million thanks to my guru James Bach and his mind blowing exercises. I would say "that is the power of exploratory and rapid testing".

Now that does not mean I can solve any problem but that means I can get close to the solution at a faster pace and I can judge myself whenever I am wrong and learning to correct myself .

A special thanks to Sameer Chaudary who is the first person to make a contribution towards Tester Tested! since it is going to take new Avatar from next month.

Also, I am planning for a one day workshop in Bangalore next month (Nov-06) on "Acquiring testing skills through exercises" - Open to all testers. Keep watching for information or get in touch with me if you would want to join - pradeep.srajan@gmail.com. Of course it is not free and yet is affordable right from a fresher to an experienced person.

I just can't imagine how excited you would be when going back from the workshop. I have been testing my exercises on a few people already and it seems to be giving great results to people who are taking up those exercises.

I am not going to talk about "what is testing and what are the types and techniques" and if you are my regular reader you should have known by now that Tester Tested! is always different and not the usual stuff you find at a place/site near you.

If you intend to make this happen in your place, I am ready for it provided you pool up with other testers there and organize it. Do let me know your interests and other possibilities through mail - pradeep.srajan@gmail.com

"One small step towards becoming a good tester is your service to the community"
Thanks and Regards,
Pradeep Soundararajan

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Testing puzzle at office

Hi Reader,

I was put to test by a real life problem. I used to get at least around 100 missed calls for a day at my desk phone in office from internal numbers(only). That is annoying !

I initially ignored and assumed my other colleagues too had the same problem but on checking with them, I got to know the problem was at my end.

_ Testing puzzle at office _

Thanks to James Bach's exercises that made me think in many ways of how this problem could occur and I was able to identify the problem.

I found it very interesting to share with you all here since I feel, if you too could solve this puzzle, you might feel as happy as I am feeling after I identified the problem.

Here are some clues:
  • One of your company employee could also be facing the same problem, I faced.
  • You might have called some one in your office and told "Oh sorry, I was trying some one else"
  • Its a unique problem and not with pressing a key on the phone by mistake.
  • Its a problem, different from the problem with the network which sometime yields the same result.

What should you do?

  1. Think and identify the problem.
  2. Document your thought process and e mail it to me at pradeep.srajan@gmail.com

What do you get?

A first correct entry from an Indian tester, gets 250 rupees and even if you dont get it right but if you think your thought process and documentation is good enough, I would love to give you another 250 rupees.


  1. All correct entries should come with some documentation which stands as a proof for me of how you concluded the problem.
  2. Open to Indian testers only.

Answer will be published after someone comes out with the correct and answer and inspiring thought process and documentation.

Of course, if you get it right your name would appear in this post.

Just in case someone is boasting about their testing skills, time for you to pass the link to them or after your name appears on it.

_Testing puzzle at office _

I am so happy that I am encouraging people to think through my blog and even ready to give them money for their thinking and I would love to continue this way to see many of you becoming *good enough* tester.

Come on start racing, Finish before an Alonso wins the podium !

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan

:) That's Tester Tested!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Test your e-mail

Hi Reader,

"Shit man, they did not get what I wanted to mean through the mail", is what my colleague uttered recently. He had found some bugs by taking a lot of care when testing a product and had prepared a test report and sent it to - Developers, Managers, Test team members.

Now, why did he say ..."they did not get what I wanted to mean.." ?

No, I am not interested in focusing communication skill of a tester but instead a skill that you must posses to ensure that people do get to know you have worked hard and a skill that you must possess to ensure people get to know the importance of your words.

_ Test your e-mail _

Now let us assume you are sending a test report to your dev guys, managers and other test team members in loop and let us take two examples of how someone without the skills I mentioned would draft the e-mail and in comparison how could the skilled tester draft the same.

Unskilled Tester -

Hello Team,

I finished testing for release xx.xx.xx and found some bugs which I have documented in the report. Please find the report as an attachment to this mail.


Unskilled Tester

Disadvantages of the above draft -

  1. The tester failed to convey the importance of the critical bugs he might have found in the mail. You might ask : "If a tester has put the details in the test report, why should he repeat it in mail?". Interesting question, but you must be aware that you should make the reader of your e-mail realize the importance of looking through the report through the e-mail.
  2. The tester failed to make the managers and developers realize that he had put in a lot of effort and if either of them asks him to repeat the tests, they are aware the time it would take to complete the tests.
  3. The tester failed to make the developers realize the urgency of fixing certain bugs. Developers would have seen "Critical" , "Major" status for a long time and there should be something else to make them work towards it.
  4. The tester failed to give details that are available in the report he has attached with the e-mail he is sending.
  5. The tester failed to realize that he is putting himself into trouble by not mentioning the limitation of his testing.
  6. The tester failed to mention the impact of the bugs on the quality of the product and the customer.

Skilled Tester -

Hi Team,

It was interesting to have found certain critical bugs that affect the basic functionality of the product through testing release xx.xx.xx for product GFD. Although the time taken to test is 5 hours, which exceeded one hour of the planned time I am happy to have found a couple of critical issues even in the extra one hour I took.

I kindly request you all to peruse the Test Report for release xx.xx.xx and to help you in navigating the test report in an easier way, I have split the critical, major and minor issues in a separate worksheet.

My testing is limited to the environment with which I executed the test cases which is not a real time environment and an emulated lab in our office premises and hence the results could vary if executed on a real time network.

File Name : Test_Report_GFD_xx.xls

File Size: 326 kilo bytes

Please feel free to get in touch with me just in case you need any logs or if you would want to see how I reproduced the issues, I have mentioned in the report.

Manager, please check with the customer if this release could be delayed by a day or two to ensure developers have enough time to fix the critical issues.

Thanks and Regards,

Skilled Tester

Now you judge how good is the above one?

_ end of Test your e-mail _

"If a tester does not test his mail, developers would find bugs in it then"

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan