"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, March 27, 2007

Bugs and emotions

After deciding to get married, I floated my profile across various matrimonial websites in India. Matrimonial websites in India are as popular as dating websites in western countries and the net savvy generation of India who decides to get married, try to find their partner over such matrimonial portals.

The current generation is pretty much aware that they need to diversify their search and hence they register in all websites that provide an online matrimonial service. Myself being a part of the same generation and moreover a rapid tester who knows that I need to diversify too, I did it.

I floated my profile across several matrimonial websites or in other words diversified my search. And the story begins...

Each of these websites send updates and information about new people getting registered or brief profile information, matching hard coded criteria of a partner to an e-mail id that a user specified during registration with these websites.

I did get a lot of automated e-mails about new people registering and about people who are matching my hard coded partner search. I was skeptic about these websites as they would spam my inbox and hence created a different e-mail id for partner search and used that for registration. I am now happy that I used a different e-mail id for registering with those websites.

On reading one such e-mail which claimed to have a list of people who matched my hard coded criteria, I found a link - to login and look for more such profiles. I clicked the link and it took me to login page. I used the e-mail id and password to login.

"Congratulations, you have successfully expressed interest to Profile123_XYZ" , flashed on my screen and left me puzzled.

Jesus, I just logged in and I never intended to express interest to someone. I was wondering if I clicked the wrong link. I logged out and looked for a similar e-mail that I received from the same portal and there again I saw a link in the e-mail that says: "Click here to look for similar profiles" . I took a risk of clicking the link and logging in... Bingo, it's reproducible.

I then had to write to those two people explaining what had happened and apologized in case they might have been hurt by someone expressing interest to marry them and retracting the interest later.

I don't intend to reproduce that ( could be a bug ) more than once and keep playing with emotions of people ( which includes me). The first thing I did is to delete my profile in that specific portal, unregister with them.
So far, I haven't seen such a thing happening in other portals that I have registered my profile and kinda feel safe.

There is more than one possibility to such a thing happening:

1. The text in the e-mail was not linked properly.
2. A bug in the program - an integration issue or anything else, too .
3. It might be a mistake of mine too. ( I cross-checked and it appears to me that I did what any other user would and did not click on a link to express interest )
4. Something(s) that I am failing to see.

Bugs that play with emotions:

There is no better context for me than this to explain that bugs play with emotions of people. The lesser the bugs in all products you use the better your health. Such bugs cause a stress/strain to your mental health and you never know that such bugs are slow poison.

In my opinion, under the context explained above, we ( testers) make the world better. We catch most of these bugs that could otherwise affect the emotions of people and help them live longer, peacefully.

We aren't paid for that, either! :-)

Well, here is a little secret of becoming a good tester - Be happy, be humorous and you see you do lot better testing !

I have observed a few discussions from a few testers in few online groups who state, testing as an activity that affects their personal life. Aren't they
FOOLS?

Testers are ones contributing towards making world a better place!

Lesser bugs in products, happy is the customer, longer he lives, more he pays, more you get paid :)

Interacting with experts like James Bach, Michael Bolton, Jerry Weinberg... I realized that they have a great sense of humor and in my opinion that is another reason why they are experts because their humor is always accompanied with a thought process to all who laugh at the joke.

A discussion of metrics took place between a group of managers from one of India's most respected IT company with Michael Bolton when they invited him to their office during his visit to India a few months back. Michael Bolton, in my opinion is not just a test expert but a philosopher too.

The managers there asked Michael Bolton, "Is there a better way to measure the health of the project than the metric we are collecting?"

MB: "Oh yes! Check the Blood Pressure of your team members after a meeting or few days away from shipping date"

LOL! Wasn't he joking and at the same time making sense about a metric that could be more practical than the metric that people collect to check the health of the project ?

Jerry Weinberg, recently wrote a fairy tale to help test managers learn a lesson. I heard from MB that Jerry Weinberg also used to "smell" the health of the project. My manager once said "Pradeep, please go home, take bath and come back. You are stinking". I had stayed 3 days 2 nights and that is the kind of pressure that people today work in.

"Jerry, your metric works!"

The experts are all happy people and make others happy because they realize, as testers and as philosophers, they have made/making the world a better place each day.

If you aren't happy as a tester, it might be because you aren't aware that you are making the world a better place.

I am one of the happiest tester in this world and I need not be an expert to say this. Let's see who is lucky to marry one of the happiest tester of the world ;)

So, if it works for you, start looking testing as an activity of giving and taking happiness to and from the world. You might see yourself testing in a lot better way.


-- Pradeep Soundararajan - pradeep.srajan@gmail.com - +91-98451-76817

"Pradeep's first language is not English--his first language appears to be testing." -- Michael Bolton

25 comments:

Victor said...

:).

Nice one.
Sadly, I think the behavior you saw was intended.
They present you with "look at this profile" and they decided: "If someone looks this means they are interested".
(At least this is what I think happened).

Good luck,
Victor

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Victor,

Nope, that wasn't intended, in my opinion. They aren't doing a fooling business. It might just be a bug.

At least my "Similar portals oracle" says, it's a bug.

Debasis said...

Hi Pradeep.

The way you have compiled this writeup, is really interesting. But for me the essence of the post is *At last, Pradeep has decided to MARRY!*. :) I am eagerly waiting to see who is going to be the LUCKIEST girl to marry the HAPPIEST (and of course one of the most talented) tester of India. Wish you an advanced Happy Married Life!

Regards,
- Debasis.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

At last, Pradeep has decided to MARRY!*.

Debasis, it is not at last. I am aged 26 years 7months and some girls looking at this post might think I am at late 40's and at last I have decided to marry :)

Many thanks for your wishes.

Please do comment back saying, you understood that : As testers, we make the world better by allowing less bugs to live in the world, out of our test labs. We make people happy and the way to test better is to be happy.

Only then I would be happy :)

Hmm! You have started to write better in your blog but maybe if you remove the ad-sense, more people might be interested to check what you write :)

Debasis said...

Hi Pradeep,

*At last, Pradeep has decided to MARRY!*.

GIRLS, please don't misunderstand the above sentence. In no way it means that Pradeep is @ late 40's. :) In fact, he is quite young and the most eligible bachelor from India in software testing field.

Let me clarify my sentence. Pradeep had been avoiding getting married for a long time now. Even he had postponed his marriage for another 2 years! Reason? So that, he could devote more time for testing (That tells the kind of Passion he has for testing).

Pradeep, I do agree with you that "As testers, we make the world better by allowing less bugs to live in the world, out of our test labs. We make people happy and the way to test better is to be happy."

And finally, Thanks for your suggestion about my blog. Hopefully, soon you won't have to see those ad-sense stuffs on my blog.

Regards,
- Debasis.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

ha ha ha! Thank you Debasis :)

Arun said...

Hi Pradeep

Nice post. Made me choke up with laughter...

Btw regarding marriage etc, hope you tone down the testing outlook in the domestic side. At least if you find any defects with the lady's way of doing things, be careful in raising them. You might find yourself rejected straight away without the bug even being assigned back to you :-)

Cheers and have a blissful search...

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Arun,

Btw regarding marriage etc, hope you tone down the testing outlook in the domestic side

I got offended with your statement. I don't want to offend you but want to mention that, in my opinion you looked at the humor in this post and not the message that this post contained to a tester.

Also, I need to highlight:
I am one of the happiest tester in this world and I need not be an expert to say this. Let's see who is lucky to marry one of the happiest tester of the world

Erkan Yilmaz said...

Namasté,

In general I agree as tester, that fewer bugs make (some) people happy.
But there is also the possibility that some bugs also make people happy (even if it is only for a moment) for different reasons:
- you can get amused about others bugs, e.g. I remember smiling on this bug [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkeC7HpsHxo ]
I also heard some people laugh in that video :-)
You can also use it as pain killer, because nobody makes perfect software on this world.
- I remember also that we laugh on our own bugs,
when we get together in the company and remember the old times: "You know, back then - this bug...?"
Don't you also have such stories too?

Every smile could make you live longer one heart beat.

about "Check the Blood Pressure of your team members":
people could use perhaps this .
But definitely better is to ask really people, read them (if this is possible)/the situation. But do not wait only for others to make you happy!
So, if you are not happy, there are probably different ways to get you happy again. Find them!
One could be like Camille tells:
"If you're afraid to do what you know is right, then you're not a real baker."
When was the last time you (yes, you who read this now) looked REALLY INTO YOU to be aware of your feelings?
BTW: Do you know, that you can see a SMALL YOU, when you look into your eyes in the mirror?
Try it, it might change your view on yourself.

[ http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/3170 ]
Well, what should I say? I am also still available on the marriage market. Let me try to mask this statement beneath the effort to not let Pradeep alone with his statement here that he is on quest :-)


btw:
Since we are talking now about emotions here in this post, I wonder why since about 1 month nobody has congratulated Pradeep on this? [ http://testertested.blogspot.com/2007/03/braidy-tester-interviews-tester-tested.html ]
Let me be the first to start this and make Pradeep happy and therefore live longer by e.g. boosting his emotions (strength and honor!).

Erkan

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Congrats Pradeep --

Only one thing that I read this post is "you have decided to get married".

Dont forget us when you find the match ....

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Shrini,

I wouldn't forget anyone unless someone I find formats my brain disk :)

You mean, you didn't read other wonderful stuff in the post?

Mallikarjun Reddy said...

I believe that Victor is right and I too think the behavior you saw was intended. It may be decision taken by prod management or marketing team. I call only those things as bugs which are incorrectly coded by developers, If this was expected behavior given by Prod Management team then this is not bug by any means. Many times I have seen QA calling the things as bugs which developers have coded intentionally (in accordance with PM team).
- Mallik
Code Inspections

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Mallikarjun Reddy,

Here is something interesting: Quality is value to some person - Jerry Weinberg.

You can't satisfy all stake holders and so couldn't the portal satisfy me because I didn't intend to express interest but just login and see more profiles.

When a tester himself is never sure whether what he has seen is a bug or not, how can you say what I have seen is not a bug?

Also, I quoted my oracle!

Mallikarjun Reddy said...

I never said that what you have seen is not a bug, but I said it may not be a bug as well. This calls for altogether a new discussion like who takes the final call on expected behavior? I think its the Prod Management team. Say the prod management team came up with some expected behavior based on what it thinks is fine with most of people, but if tester thinks that behavior is not obvious then does that mean it a bug ??
- Mallik
Code Inspections

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Mallikarjun,

I would have been happy if you said, "it's the customers who drive what is expected and the product management team propagate that information to the design of development team."

You and me are in India and as of today we are in a customer driven world.

Also, everything may be a bug or may not be a bug but testers bring out stories, draw conjectures and inferences to induce thought process about what he/she calls as bugs, in my opinion and many others to my knowledge.

Mallikarjun Reddy said...

"it's the customers who drive what is expected", I agree but I think a good PM team reflects the customer's choice. But now a days many startups comes of with innovative products which does not even know who the customers are (leave about customer's expectation) These kinds of products evolve with the time.
- Mallik
Code Inspections

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Mallikarjun,

I agree but I think a good PM team reflects the customer's choice

Ah! Good PM, Good Testers, Good Company... Nice to talk or write!

Good for whom?

No one can have a holistic view of what all customers would do with the product they are developing.

But now a days many startups comes of with innovative products which does not even know who the customers are (leave about customer's expectation)

Ahhhh! Innovative product without knowing the customer. Why don't you send this to start ups and see what their reply is.

Don't get offended by their reply. All companies do try to understand their customers and only then they can sell it and generate great success when they understand the customer more and more, each day.

Even in companies who claim to understand their customers - products evolve. What big deal in it?

Testing is still evolving and so are you and me in this world.

Mallikarjun Reddy said...

"Ahhhh! Innovative product without knowing the customer. Why don't you send this to start ups and see what their reply is."

Who were the Youtube's target customers, was it content owners or was it piracy promoters :). Well I dont want to divert the topic.

Just an example, When I click on close (X) in the browser, it gets closed without any confirmation message. Now should we think of it as a bug ????

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Mallikarjun,

Who were the Youtube's target customers, was it content owners or was it piracy promoters :)

We don't know, you should be asking them.

Also, hackers are also customers. It's just that we don't want to please them.

Well I dont want to divert the topic.

Eh! In my opinion you did take the topic away from emotions and bugs but I didn't mind it.

When I click on close (X) in the browser, it gets closed without any confirmation message. Now should we think of it as a bug ????

If you ask a context driven thinker like me, I would answer: What's the context? I can't answer your question unless I know about the context in which it's being asked.

Coming to emotions, if I am in hurry ( context ) and when I attempt to close and I am asked to confirm closing it, I get irritated.

If I didn't intend to close but did it by mistake and I see it vanished, I get irritated.

Look at it, the same customer feels different about the product in different contexts. It's difficult to understand just one customer and how can anyone understand about all customers?

They might be making them emotionally happy and that's why their products are selling!

Mallikarjun Reddy said...

Well, giving a confirmation dialog box may be couple of mins job for developer and he may be fine with both of them. You have given the argument in favor/against of both but who takes final decision, should it be there or not ? Is this a bug or not?

Questions unanswered, terminology flourished :)

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Mallikarjun,

You have given the argument in favor/against of both but who takes final decision, should it be there or not ? Is this a bug or not?

There is no one answer the question because they are different contexts.

In my opinion, an expert is not someone who knows to answer all questions but who knows what not to answer because of lack of information.

I say, "If someone can answer that question of yours without asking the context/application/situation/customer information/developers/testers/risk/business areas/..., he might not know what testing is all about"

I did give an answer to you: Let me put it more simple:

It depends on the context and depends on who and at what time is using it.

If testing problems were that simple of saying "yes/no" to a question like that, everyone are experts.

Mallikarjun Reddy said...

In such a case, I personally see that context driven testing more as PM's job or domain experts job than a software testers job.
Anyways, I would be interested to know what their response is if you report this bug to that portal.
--Mallik
COde Inspections

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

In such a case, I personally see that context driven testing more as PM's job or domain experts job than a software testers job.

You see context driven testing as PM's job domain expert's? Surprising!

I don't have control over your thoughts nor does anyone other than you and you are free to think anything in this world but personally you thinking that way might not fetch you a place in a community where testers believe in context driven thinking. If you are ok with it, there must not be any issues.

With you having tasted apple and if someone came to you not having tasted apple and said "Apple is salty fruit" - What would you ask him to do first?

Divya Rajan said...

hey prads, completely aside from the topic, ur blog has become more technical and quite long too..! any reasons:) but must say, was an interesting read..found any girls yet? (for marriage of course!)

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Divya,

Thanks for dropping by. You actually indirectly mean that I have more focus now :) The search is on.

Thank you!