Wednesday, December 02, 2009
You shouldn't be surprised to know that in the past I have written little tools, utilities and batch scripts that helped me or a test team I worked with. At the worst case I used to edit those scripts written by others to suit my needs or the mission. No matter how small they were, the value was the key.
Perl has been my favorite (you think I explored others enough, nah) since I first discovered it being used to automate checks in my first job. A couple of weeks back I decided to focus on shaping myself to be a tester who can write code in Perl for automating checks for most kinds of software I test. Irrespective of whether I am hired to do so or not, I'd want to be equipped.
In order to practice stuff that I learn in Perl, I decided to create exercises, puzzles and games for testers. That way I am trying to have more fun learning Perl. Perl itself is fun in its true nature and imagine adding more fun to it.
So wanna check out the puzzle I have for you? Hold on, don't be in a hurry.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Deliverable: Send the combat report of the simulated battle for each of the conditions in a zip file.
Tester: Pradeep Soundararajan
Time: 3:00 PM IST , 28th Nov, 2009
Later there were more missions that were added (bad I didnt pay much attention but was able to recover quickly )
# I downloaded the application and asked questions about the version of the file before I installed.
# Having some time, I discovered the existence of an online version of what I downloaded and installed.
# I am spending time trying to learn what the application does. Wondering how I should learn this game.
# Found a tutorial of what this app is all about at : http://www.speedsim.net/index.php?page=tutorial. Quickly brushing through it.
# Working on achieving the mission at 3:20
# At about 3:35, I feel I am close to accomplishing the mission but not sure if there is a trap in there.
# I wonder what a partial win is? For instance in one of the report below I saw a 98% win for Defender ( Can I achieve a 50% win )
# I realize that I am not getting caught by the complexity of so many fields to achieve the mission. Keeping it simple.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Fuzzing is a very interesting topic and I dont want to loose out on attending his session in Bangalore.Have you ever corrupted a file? Have you been curious to see what happens to your system when the database is corrupted? What happens to a live / production server if a file is corrupted? Have you ever experienced a file/data corruption at the customer end and the ripples it caused your organization. I know its very important and thankfully Rahul has focused on it much beyond most of us. If I could better my fuzzing skills, I can extend my competitive advantage.
Once I was a part of a test team whose responsibility was to test multimedia streaming on a Pocket PC. Pesticide Paradox kicked in and our test data was no longer helping us to find problems.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sharath's manager, Murugan, wanted to make the award ceremony a very special one and surprised Sharath by bringing me in for the award ceremony. A manager so excited about giving away an award of Best Performer of the organization to his subordinate - made me feel wow. While traveling together to Mindtree office, I discovered that Murugan had a good diversity throughout his career and even tried doing business in the United States long ago with his friends. With all that experience, he thought, freedom plays a vital role in testing and hence provided it to Sharath who seeked it. India needs more Murugans. I think they have lot of Sharaths out there.
Freedom with responsibility made Sharath get him the award. This is the second time my student is getting an award at the organization level. Most of you might not know much about Shaham Yusuf but then he won awards for slogging important bugs and an unmatchable record of the highest number of important problems found in Deloitte India.
Monday, October 12, 2009
"Are you Testerlock of Testers & Blocks Consulting?" screamed a voice on the road just when Testerlock was buying some vegetables. Before Testerlock could respond, the young man filled with excitement said, "I have watched you test at a webinar and I loved the way you brought in so many heuristics to your testing approach. I even wrote an e-mail to you a couple of months back".
"And you are..."
"Oh, I am Philip. A senior tester at PepLabs and I really wish I could learn more from you. In fact my whole team would love to learn from you"
"I am glad you are interested at my testing as much as I will be interested to watch your team test"
"We have a problem though. Our manager somehow wouldn't get convinced that we need your training?"
"Really? Do you have some time, let me pay for these vegetables and we can sit around for a coffee"
A few minutes later, Testerlock and Philip were at a Cup-O, a coffee bar in Portland, Oregon, discussing about the problem that Philip raised.
After the first sip of a coffee, "So, you think your manager is a barrier to bring me in, to coach your team?"
Saturday, September 26, 2009
On September 1st, 2009, I decided to move away from my paying job to write this book - Approaches for interviewing in software testing. Before my bank sends an SMS "Lost your job?", I am hoping that I will finish this book and find a publisher. ( Also means: If you have any short assignments you can hire me or sponsor me for the book ). So, there you go. Now you know what I have been doing over the last 25 days.
A funny thing you should know - I had been writing another book over the last two years and then realized - writing a book is different from writing a blog or making a technical presentation at a conference. The kind of a book I was writing actually demanded a better writing skill from me that I dont possess right now. So, I have applied to be a participant at a workshop of how to write that kind of a book so that I better at least a little bit. ( let that remain a secret for a while )
Coming over to this book - you must first understand that this isn't just a book but something beyond the book. www.interviewsandjobs.com will serve as a platform to address all queries of testers related to jobs and interviews henceforth and also act as a flag bearer for the book I am writing. Santhosh Tuppad, my student at Practical Hands on Software Testing Training and a cool tester has been helping me a lot in the project.
I hope some of you will be willing to help in writing this book by contributing stories of your interview experience or other ways you will discover if you browse through www.interviewsandjobs.com
When you go to www.interviewsandjobs.com , don't miss out the teaser for the book. The teaser has the first 14 pages of the book and I hope it builds enough curiosity in you and your friends to ask for more and end up buying the book or sending the teaser to your friends through twitter, facebook, orkut or anywhere as you may like.
That's all, here. Go there and enjoy!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
By then it had shifted from Vibeesh to Maria, and then new set of problems being listed. By then Testerlock had stopped making notes and was sitting and listening to what Maria was saying.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
However, I ask all participants to fill it because the client who hired me wants it, so I don't necessarily change myself per se after looking at the feedback forms unless someone takes time to talk to me about it. As Mohan Panguluri says, "Pradeep, you are like Himesh Reshamaya. Either people fall in love with your music or they hate you at core" and its so true. My feedback forms hardly have an average rating. I am hoping that you saw this feedback report that I bet with all trainers of the world as hard to achieve. I either get a -30,000 rating or a 6 on a scale of 1 to 5. So, you see, how much they hate me?
Now, the actual feedback for me is when people go back and perform better at work. Of course you know about Sharath's great story that fetched him several awards at Mindtree. That's history now.
So, let's look at present. Quoting Jon Bach, "I prefer testers who are more curious than technical. Being technical does not make you more curious, but curiosity can make you more technical."
I mentor a few testers who are as curious or maybe even more curious than me. A co-incidence that these people also attended my workshops on Exploratory Testing and Rapid Software Testing. Among several good things they have done so far, I am starting to like their initiative of - Bangalore Weekend Testing
So, here is the deal of Bangalore Weekend Testing
They ( Ajay Balamurugadas , Manoj Nair, Parimala, Sharath Byregowda ) get together online, pick a product ( preferably open source ) and test together. At the end they publish a report that is helpful to the organization, team or open source project owners. Most important of all they have great fun and learn together.
I dont think you should be deprived of such fun and learning especially when it comes for free.
- It can happen from wherever you are and is a great way to have fun during weekend if you claim that testing is your passion.
- You will always have something to take back to your office on Monday and try out new things to help your organization.
- You would get to meet a lot of other testers online and network.
- You would learn from each other and better your ideas in testing.
- You could end up meeting them and doing more testing together.
- These people will also help you set up a blog and help you publish your experiences and could even mentor you.
- You help the community of software testers by demonstrating your skills and or through your reports.
- You help open source projects better their next release or plan for a next release.
- Once you are subscribed to firstname.lastname@example.org you will receive updates on time and projects that is planned for the weekend or it may happen as you find the registrants online
- A chat group is created on Gtalk by a facilitator ( say Ajay ) and invite all registered testers to it. ( Registration means sending an e-mail to email@example.com saying "hey, I am curious" )
- With the help of a Session Tester, testing for a product would go on for about 2 - 3 hours or even more as the excitement goes on.
- Participants then spend time preparing their reports and share it across e-mail, get it reviewed and then publish it on their blogs ( if they want to ) or in a website that is coming up.
- Will be so much fun as you are in direct control of your tests. No manager or Lead watching you and no time pressure and no customer waiting for your report. Just do it!
- You wait for the next weekend.
Examples from the past:
Curious? Wanna have fun and learn to test better? Shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Facebook group of Bangalore Weekend Testers
or Test Republic group to get updates about it or to keep a tab on their reports and activities.
Update: Aug 18th, 2009
Check out how Bangalore Weekend Testers - 3 went and see if you are fine missing the 4th?
Parimala's Report : http://curioustester.blogspot.com/2009/08/bangalore-weekend-testing-3-bwt-3.html
Ajay's Report: http://enjoytesting.blogspot.com/2009/08/weekend-testing-session-report.html
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Most testers I meet lament about the process (or sucked within it for survival ) and approach they are forced to follow and try talking to their management about better ideas and better ways to test. Those executives don't seem to listen much nor willing to change.
Wondering why they wouldn't?
They have hit a cash cow.
Mark Crowther and I were discussing about Code Coverage & Requirements Based Testing in Test Republic and some how drove me to write about the way most businessmen are fooling their customers through the process they love to follow.
So, here it goes with editing and expansion. Assuming Mark from UK or maybe even you outsourced a testing project to me:
- I would spend a couple of days analyzing your requirement document and bill you for X hours per person involved in my team.
- I would spend a couple of days writing a test plan document ( but not refer to it ) and bill you for 2X hours per person involved in my team for preparing it.
- I would spend a month or two writing test case document ( and refer only to it ) and bill you for 10X hours per person involved in my team for preparing it.
- I would then again create a traceability matrix ( just to fool you and your boss about our coverage ) and bill you for 5X hours per person involved in my team for preparing it.
- So far, total of 18X hours per person involved in the team is the billing.
- Assuming X is 50 hours and there are about 10 members in my team, that's 18 * 50 * 10 = 9000 hours of billing with no single bug found yet. ( Mark wrote about it, too )
- If you are paying $20 an hour per person on an average, you would have actually given me a business of $180,000 without me or my team finding any bug yet.
- So after investing $1,80,000 on me and my team, you would want some benefits of that. So, you wouldn't pull the project out or move it to another vendor because more or less he would do the same and you would end up paying another $180,000
- Then comes the test case execution cycles for our documented 10,000 tests out of a possible hundred million tests
- For every new bug that you find out of the releases I make, my team would spend documenting the new test case, getting it reviewed and resulting in slower testing for you and more money for me.
- So assuming running 10,000 tests take 2 weeks for a team of 10 members to execute. Also assuming least 50 cycles of testing, you would have paid me about $140,000 for a coverage whose value might be not worth of the money.
- Of course there is additional documentation of missed test cases and other template filling activities that will be billed to you.
- To fool you further, I would instruct my team to use some expensive license based tools ( what else will I do with the money you are pumping in ) to give you a sense of faster testing ( by foolishly comparing it with human speed of testing ) and call it "Automation Testing". It turns out that these tools could have helped me find bugs that are of not a great value to you but hey, we want to see test case pass more than fail.
- Your coverage isn't improving much because we have converted manual tests to automated tests ( although its not the same test ) but to show you the speed of our tools.
- So think about adding another $25,000 and giving you an illusion of an ROI of $100,000 while pumping multiples of $100,000 from your bank account to mine.
- The CMM, TMM, Six Sigma, ISTQB scams are built around this eco-system to enable more money flow for hardly any value. Who knows there could be a cut for the people who know all this and yet do it.
Are you asking about what happens to the users of the product?
- Lets bother about the users of your product later during our maintenance billing phase. Don't you know SDLC ends in Maintenance Phase? If we do everything right in the previous stages then how do we prove we follow SDLC when there is hardly any work in maintenance phase?
I hope those who outsource start pushing for services that doesn't fool them. Who would actually listen to this argument is testers turned businessmen and testers turned outsourcing heads and testers turned business leaders.
Whenever I visit a testing services company and see a testimonial of a customer who talks about the great ROI they got and faster testing, I wonder what a heavy price they paid to believe so.
Exploratory Testing ++ , Context Driven Testing ++ , Rapid Software Testing ++ or else YourMoney --
Don't want to be fooled by outsourcing software testing? One of those who could be of help to you among many folks I know, is myself.
Friday, July 17, 2009
About a couple of years back, I had an opportunity to read "How I learn stuff" from James Bach and was excited about it. I had a concern about it that it was not complete and kept asking James for his plan on it.
Little did I know then that it would turn out to be a great book for the community and not one that was accessible to those who work with James. When I learnt from James that Simon & Schuster have agreed to publish it, I was excited about it and my urge to read the complete stuff skyrocketed. I must say that I had reviewed its initial draft and reading the book today is a fascinating experience.
I also thought I had enough money to gift it to all those people whom I care about. I certainly do care about those who read my blog and here is a gift that Simon & Shuster, James Bach has provided - It's free download till July 24th. The hard copy is going to be released on my birthday. ( Just a coincidence )
Why is this book one of the most important one's for software testers?
I recognize that learning and unlearning are skills that are absolutely important for any profession anyone is in. Today, I see a lot of testers struggling to learn the latest version of a tool when it is released, although they are aware of its earlier version. Learning requires mental modeling. If you have a model of learning then no tool or none of its version can intimidate you. Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar can be of help to you.
We witness so many tools everyday that we didn't know earlier. When we discover a tool that could have solved our problems in our last project, we are worried about what tools we are missing to solve today's problem. If you learn how to scout, you wouldn't find it tough to find the tool you want for today's need. We are in the Google age and we don't get to know the right link although we search for it because Google is not kind to everyone. It is kind only to those who know how to scout. Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar can be of help to you.
All of us want to be the most competitive in our field but honestly, how many of us are putting in the work that requires to do so or how many of us know what to do to be able to get competitive. Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar can be of help to you.
I see that some testing bloggers mostly ape the way other successful bloggers write their posts. Doing that for sometime they are lost of what their original ways are and get into the rut of aping. While aping could be a way to start, it ain't the way to proceed. Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar can be of help to you.
Fear of unknown
When you ask someone why aren't they self employed, most often you would find that they fear the unknown. The unknown is always bad according to most of us. I meet credible testers in India and ask them, "Why do you think you can't be an independent consultant?" and they say, "Currently my job is secure". Recession times guys - there ain't anything called "secured job". Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar can be of help to you.
Value of reading
Most testers don't read books. What a great advantage they offer to people like me. Good for me but so bad for them. I am concerned about them. I wish they read just this book ( which is for free till July 24th ). I wish they read because I think after reading this, it might be influential enough to them to be able not offer me the advantage that I had.
To all those testers who don't have the practice of reading books: In case you come across this post or the book and you choose not to read the book, no one can stop you from remaining in your most stable state - ignorance.
Monday, June 29, 2009
The recognition that an organization gives could be fine as long as you stay in the organization or as long as the organization is doing fine. That's why many people stick on to an organization for quite sometime because they start hating fresh water. They accept to be in a well. With growing infrastructure needs and changing economy, some wells have to be wiped out and all frogs in it have to hop to a different destination.
I was once surrounded by bad frogs who made me feel that I was a great tester. I would never want to be there again because that hampers my learning although it pleases my ego as long as I am with them. A couple of months back I interviewed a tester who had been awarded as the best among 1100 testers of his organization. He was pathetic and I think the right one in the organization didn't get the award.
A tester from Mumbai who claimed to be superior to me in knowledge and skills wrote to me and said, "You are misguiding the community by giving wrong ideas" and my reply to him is this, "Well, if you are so concerned about the community then you should write a blog and say to the world that Pradeep Soundararajan is giving wrong ideas and the reasons of why his ideas are wrong" for which he never got back to me with his blog link.
There are several testers whom I helped to start a blog and only some of them are doing fine with it. Some people started a blog and sent me a link with a note that - you inspired me. If I revisit their blogs, most of them ended up not continuing it because they realized its hard to keep blogging. The other dimension is - it is easy to blog if you are just doing a cut copy paste plagiarize, not owe credits to original authors and expose yourselves as a fool.
2 months back, I interviewed Harish, who had lost his job from a reputed organization which decided to shut down its operations in Bangalore as they faced the worst part of recession at their US office.
Harish is the kind of tester whom I'd want to work with for the way he challenged my arguments, sharp eyes that observes little things going around the screen and has good reporting skills, good communication skills, but then, my client had to postpone their recruitment plans. I couldn't get an opportunity to work with him. If you are looking for one, I'd suggest you talk to Harish.
I wish I could have linked to his blog to get you curious about him and that's what is missing. I asked him:
PS: You don't blog?
Harish: Why should I?
PS: For the world to know about a good tester.
Harish: Why should the world know about me?
PS: Consider asking yourselves as to why shouldn't the world know about you?
Harish: Let me think about it.
After a month, Harish calls up, "Hey Pradeep, I haven't found a job yet. I realize this wouldn't have happened if the world knew about my testing skills. The interviews test something different than my skills"
So here is a post on my blog for all those Harish of the world to wake up and start blogging. A blog of your own serves a core purpose that surrounds all of us - to learn - things, ways, people, testing, ideas, challenges, and more...
If I should blog, I should have good writing skills: Ha! You should read Pradeep's first post and then you would realize that he was more pathetic in writing than what he is today (or what you might have been a couple of years back). However, as you peruse through the blog you would realize that I have improved a thousand leaps. It comes from practice and a blog helps you to practice writing. Two things never happen to people with this myth - better writing skills and blog.
If I should blog, I should be an expert: I must admit that I thought of myself as the world's best tester till I met James and then more people like you. My blog has helped me meet thousands of people who helped me understand that I am not the world's best tester. That's important to learn because it gives me learning opportunity to try to get as close to what I think I was. You don't need to be an expert to blog but people commenting on your posts can help you to be an expert of the field. They might surprise you with a question that you think over for the next 2 years to find answers for it and in search of an answer to that question you discover a whole new world of testing.
If I should blog, I should have thousands of readers and comments: I am my first blog reader. I primarily write to practice writing and thinking. I have been writing this post over 2 days and I test my writing. It helps me writing some good documents at work that influences decisions. If my writing can be of help to others then I am glad. I do not write to get thousands of readers or commentors. No matter the world stops reading my blog, I would continue to write for one regular and serious reader - that's me.
If I should blog, I should write in a way that fetches appreciation: Saurav Ganguly, a cricket player from India was axed out of the team for poor performance a couple of years ago. The internet in India was full of jokes about his poor performance but then he made a great comeback to the worldcup squad. He was interviewed in NDTV for his comeback and a journalist asked him, "How did you make this great comeback when most parts of India, including Kolkata, your hometown was against your performance?" to which he replied, "I didn't spend time bothering things that are not under my control ( people making fun and jokes about his performance) and focussed on spending more time for things that are under my control ( practice, improving performance, consistent results in league matches) and I think that's what helped me". I took this as a great lesson to myself and focussed on doing things under my control and not bothering things that are not under my control.
If I should blog, I should have more time than what I have: Actually, we spend time on lot of useless things everyday. If you cut that out of one day in a week that provides you time to blog. I usually laugh at people who say they have no time to blog. I woke up a little early today to complete this post. I think I wouldn't die if I get up early. As James Bach said on Twitter: "I don't teach my son the value of discipline and hard work, because that *can't* be taught-- only learned."
If I should blog, I should be a good tester: A real good tester would want to get tested to see if he is really good and would be glad to know he is not good since that helps in improving him. A blog is probably one of the ways in which you get to know about the holes in your education as a tester. Once you know that, start plugging them. You could aim to be a good tester and start blogging than wait for you to become a good tester and then start blogging.
There are number of other ways you can demonstrate to the world about your testing skills and I think you should do that. Ah! No, not by saying you are proud to be ISTQB certified, that would drive away people.
PhilK recently interviewed many tester bloggers and I was one of them. Read my interview here and do not forget to read other interviews as well.
If you are good, the world should know about you. If you are hesitant to let the world know about you - you aren't good enough, maybe. Good tester doesn't mean you offer advice to the world, it means you present your work and be open to learning from others if they happen to argue. You may be a good tester and choose not to write a blog, I still respect that but I think you can get better by writing one.
So, time for you to get back to your work, ignoring all things in this post and continue to say, "If I should blog,". If you are already doing it get more people to be like you or do more with that.
Update: There is a test challenge at Test Republic that might be of your interest
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Why didn't I think of being a software tester? Ah! Maybe because there wasn't anything I heard about software in 1980's but what about children today? They still say, "I want to be a pilot, a naval commander, a ramp model, a cricket player, a tennis player, an actor, a Formula1 driver, a Software Programmer, a Scientist"
I was investigating the history of how certain professions and sport are more popular and aspiring to many young people and discovered a few things about it.
Visibility: The idea of what a human does in a specific profession must be visible or made visible to a larger group of people who might not be in that field. For instance, my brother decided he'd want to be in army after he watched a movie "Border" and wanted to fight for the nation. In 1990, I watched "E.T." ( no, not Exploratory Testing but Extra Terrestrial ) and wanted to be an astronaut to be able to talk to aliens. A friend of mine watched Jurrasic Park and wanted to be a software programmer and a hacker. In parallel, I watched Kapil Dev's cricketing skills and wanted to be like him. Today my favorite sport is Table Tennis. Table Tennis has undergone a huge change in last few years to make the game more visible to the general public. Can you believe the ball size has been increased?
If you look at the Bolywood, you would see that one person inspired another to get into acting, music or direction. It was finally a movie ( Edison - The Man ) that changed my whole life downside up where I witnessed Thomas Edison's invention, hardship, work, experiments, challenges. I wanted to be an inventor and so am I, today, an inventor of tests.
Money & Richness: As a child, I didn't know the money behind each of these profession that I wanted to be in. When I discovered that cricketers are some of the richest people in India, I did dream a little bit about it and then the dream changed to movies, and then to something else that interested me at that time - complex electronic circuits. So, I did my Bachelors in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering to help myself earn money being an Electronics Engineer. I am so close to electronics always, you see. When I am typing this, I realize a thin slice of key board separates me from a complex circuit. Being an independent consultant in software testing in India, I must admit I make more money than 98% of testers of my age or years of experience. Forget money, I feel, I am rich with testing knowledge and skills. I admit I am greedy to be more rich this way.
Parents: are a huge influencing factor. My father always talked about science to me. I used to ask him questions about science and engineering and he kept encouraging me in many ways by getting books on science or taking me to a science fiction movie. My mother was interested in Biology but I wasn't. I think my parents helped in fostering my curiosity. For a birthday gift at my age of 11, I got an Electronics - Make it Yourself kit from my parents that I assume as another key factor. So, testing suits me since it demands curiosity. In many countries, I do see the influence of parents on their children. The Bach Brothers ( James & Jon ) despite being software testers are also writers, like their father Richard Bach.
Community Respect & Relatives: plays an influential role for some people. I have heard during my relatives marriage and other social meeting about people boasting that their son or daugther got a job in IBM as a software programmer or a job with Microsoft at Redmond. So, hearing such words inspire other people to think of it so that they could boast about a similar thing later. They go back home and ask their children to aim for being a software programmer in IBM or Microsoft. Today my parents communicate proudly to their friends, "My son is a tester who is quite reputed for his work around the world." ( Ah! They do know about some of you who hate me and would not agree to that statement. )
Friends: often influence each other by introducing them to new professions that one might not have heard about. I still remember, a friend of mine who influenced me to be more serious about Electronics by showing a pocket radio that he had assembled. I wanted to do something like that and maybe even more. I quenched the thirst during my 3rd year at college by making the first telephone controlled gas stove knob with a circuit a size of Nokia Pocket communicator.
Mentors: During my first year at work, I worked with a tester who was trying to get on to the development team of the same project as he didnt like running test cases. I was influenced by him to learn programming and try my hands on programming. Although the organization who had hired me as a tester didn't want to take me as a programmer because they felt I was being useful to them as a tester, it helped me learn some bit of useful programming. I tried learning programming with the help of a System Architect and a Senior Programmer of the team, they helped me learn how equally challenging was testing activity by testing every program I wrote.
Professional Gurus: Oh! You know this. James Bach and Michael Bolton are my gurus. I have witnessed their testing online and have been constantly tested by them. They helped me clear the darkness I used to see in software testing and become a constant learner and practitioner.
Challenges & Fun: are something that everyone look forward to in any profession they want to be in. What most of the testers and people kept hearing about testing so far is - There is a process, we simply follow it. There is a test case, we simply follow it. There are those two things, we simply follow it. There is a tool we record and play everyday. There ain't any fun there ain't any challenge in following and merely recording and playing.
Exploratory Testing and Rapid Testing is gaining huge ground in places like India, ( ask me how many people are booked for my upcoming Exploratory Testing workshop and from where all they are coming and who are they ) software testing is becoming more fun, more challenging, and testers are constantly exploring lots of new things and discovering and inventing and more...
My analysis of Why Software Testing hasn't been that much of an attractive field so far?
- It lacked (past tense) visibility
- It lacked information about testers making money
- It lacked community respect
- It lacked parents awareness of the profession
- It lacked friends awareness of the profession
- It lacked good mentors
- It lacked enough professional gurus
- It lacked enough freedom being given to testers and hence wasnt challenging
Videos like this one which aids more visibility into our profession
and like this one which aids the curiosity of existing testers
and like this one that demonstrates the financial gain
and like this one that demonstrates the fun in being a /thinking/ tester as opposed to being a certified tester
And like this one that demonstrates the challenges
And like this one that demonstrates the exploration of new ideas to find bugs
While you are reading this, a child somewhere in the world might have opened Youtube and searched for E.T and hit this video and might be dreaming of becoming a software tester. I bet this is happening. I realize we haven't seen a father son tester combination but we have heard of Bach brothers.
Today is the foundation for tomorrow. What are we doing today?
Friday, May 29, 2009
If you are subscribed to Testing Experience - The magazine for professional testers, you would have got an e-mail recently ( a day or two before this post ) announcing first year anniversary of the magazine. I am subscribed to them from their third issue and in an year they have grown to about 350,000 subscribers ( as per their own website claim )
I congratulated Jose Diaz for running the magazine and for completing one year with it, and offered my respect to him for doing it. I also wrote in the same e-mail to him that I see the magazine becoming too much of ISTQB stuff to which he seemed to disagree with me. I am surprised with that.
I decided to investigate if I could be wrong and presented my findings to Jose over an e-mail:
( modified the construct for your reading and not the content)
Here is my experience of going through Testing Experience magazine
- When I open the website www.testingexperience.com I am forced to look at a pop up ad for ISTQB. Only after closing that I am allowed to browse through the pages. [ As on May 29, 2009 2300 IST ] Do you see anything different?
- Let's look into the latest issue : Security testing: Page: 2 : The opening ad of Testing Experience is ISTQB. It kind of puts in my mind the thing that Testing Experience means ISTQB.
- Page 3: Jose Diaz has personally covered ISTQB in letter from Editor section and he says, "Last but not least, I want you to pay attention to our new e-learning portal www.testingexperience.learntesting.com . You can register for ISTQB Foundation Level and very soon for Advanced Level. Enjoy Learning". When the chief says pay attention to something it indicates to me that Testing Experience is supporting ISTQB because they are feeding Testing Experience with enough money to do that.
- Page 6: Yet another ad of ISTQB in German language or something similar to that. Hey look, before I even get to read the first article in a magazine, I am asked to cross 4-5 instances of ISTQB.
- Page 13: Another instance of ISTQB half page attractive ad
- Page 21: ISTQB again
- Page 24: Erik Van Veenendaal writes about ISTQB and wooing people to go for it. Here is an excerpt from that article: "The ISTQB Advanced Level scheme offers a complete 5-day module on technical testing which may seem irrelevant to testers today, but I'm convinced will become more and more important to the near future or even already today".
- Page 27: Interview with Mike Smith: Yet another ISTQB masala flavor in the form of LearnTesting. 3 pages full of that. As though - Learn Testing means only about learning ISTQB way of testing.
- Page 30: Yet another ad for Learn Testing who in turn promotes ISTQB and run by Testing Experience.
- Page36: An article from Rex Black, a popular founder and face of ISTQB. To his credit, he doesn't talk about ISTQB.
- In what way is his article on page 66 to 70 that talks about Advanced Software Test Design Techniques is related to Security theme of the magazine? Do we have so less people on Security Testing that we'd have to compensate it by a non security article.
- At least aren't there any other brilliant ISTQB certified testers who can write good articles on Security Testing or maybe even the Advanced Test Case Design Techniques?
- Page 52 & 53 has the ISTQB and information such as "We are the community with 1,10,000 people. Are you on the right side?". Its a Shame. Rex Black speaks against the idea of Schools of Testing but has ads asking testers, Are you on the right side? with a link to ISTQB below it. What is the message?
- Page 58: ISTQB in France
- Page 70: Another article from Rex Black
- Page 78: RBCS & ISTQB
- Page 99: There is ISTQB, yet again and a full fledged article on it for 2 pages.
- Page 103: Is yet another mention about ISTQB being there and being here for those who didn't know it will soon be everywhere .
- Oh and Page 104 also ends with ISTQB training and other details. ( There are only 104 pages of this magazine )
- Compare their first edition of magazine and there on, you would see ISTQB increasing with every edition. I wouldn't be surprised that the future editions is only about ISTQB and I see the future in their latest edition.
Testing is Questioning
Where is all the money that many testers across the globe paying to ISTQB certification and training going? Asks Michael Bolton on James Bach's Blog
Is the magazine becoming an official mouth piece of ISTQB or there is so much of bias that it makes me think so?
Whose money is all this? Your money. You didnt know you can make someone as rich as you wanted to be?
I think anyone who is running a business can cling to a brand to build their own brand but not to an extent that the other brand swallows it. If that is the mission, I think Testing Experience is headed on the right track.
I don't know who is in the review board and I suspect that it might not be diversified and have only ISTQB promoters.
What do you think?
- So, you reader of this post - What is your opinion? After seeing all this would you think the magazine is neutral or is serving the purpose of promoting ISTQB?
- Should magazines like these that claim to be for Professional Testers be promoting one kind of stuff or be helpful to the community in allowing different kinds of people to mix with?
Test Republic is a social community for software testers and a not for profit service by Mohan Panguluri, COO, Edista Testing Institute. You can witness that by visiting it. It has events of ISTQB posted in the past, it has CAST conference details and QAI conferences. It has a blend of all kinds of thought process in software testing and arguments. They allow all kinds of information to be posted from all kind of communities and schools. They keep aside their business and do this for benefiting the community. Another example is STC by Rosie Sherry. I think there is lots to learn from people like Mohan Panguluri and Rosie Sherry, for the rest of the world who also claims to be doing it for Professional testers.
Jose seemed to be OK with my above response of facts about ISTQB in Testing Experience's latest issue but wasn't comfortable after I mentioned to him that I plan to blog about it. He cited that his lawyers might have a look into my blog if I do so.
So they might be reading this post along with you. If I question ISTQB, the dynasty of ISTQB will hire lawyers to see if I can be attacked for questioning them?
How cheap? Software Testing is such a nascent field, we haven't even crossed 50 years and already someone is saying "The best practice and right ways of testing" and "we control the field and there is no room for disagreement".
Kudos ISTQB certified testers. You are sinking the field you are working on without knowing you are doing it. Fantastic, go ahead get certified!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Theme: Changing the way people test and think about testing
Venue Sponsor: Edista Testing Institute & Test Republic
For more pics, click here
Ajay talked about the change he had after attending my workshop on Exploratory Testing – A Rapid Software Testing Approach and how it helped him log several hundreds of bugs when he started doing a structured exploratory testing. He explained how he struggled with the templates that he had to adhere and how those test cases filled in templates failed to yield coverage and value.
It surprises me that some organizations get their resources trained to help changes to occur to their work and grow skeptical when they get to witness the change.
Before he finished his presentation, he mentioned how the management started seeing Ajay’s work output as a different value than what they expected out of him. What they expected from Ajay was to run as many test cases as possible and what he ended up producing was finding defects and reporting them in their bug tracking system. That is an interesting one – test cases are there, wherever they are, to help testers find bugs and some managers might be misusing it to show progress of testing. I have heard it happens everywhere in the world and not just in
During the facilitated discussion that happened after Ajay’s presentation, Shrini mentioned, “The value depends on what stakeholders defines it as”. However, sometimes some stakeholders might need education from a tester to have more meaningful value definition.
Rahul Mirakhur (RM) brought in the idea of a tester wearing different hats and being able to think the value that different stakeholders might want from a tester.
When he interacted with Support teams in an earlier organization, it opened up a completely new world of information source and that, changed the way he did testing thereafter. It also gave a glimpse on how different functions on a project bring in value and in the case of Support teams case, value is more "after" product release.
As the discussion drifted to bugs, Rahul Verma said, “I see bugs as questions we can ask”
Manoj Nair’s presentation on An attempt for better testing
Manoj talked about the opportunity he got in his project where time crunch and amount of testing to be done, enabled his manager to bestow him with a freedom to do free style exploratory testing (without much documentation) for an important feature in his project. The defects and the information he came up by performing free style exploratory testing made the management to postpone the release realizing the danger. He felt happy with his effort, until he was required to explain the details of test coverage across the feature and provide test case document for the tests he conducted for those features. The test case document he prepared were subset of the entire range of tests he performed because he did not have time to document all those tests. He realized the value of tests he did could possibly diminish through that activity. Looking back at it he felt, if he had used Session Based Test Management, he could had done a much better job in providing test ideas document.
During the discussion, I talked about the idea of a Wiki for changes to the product open to all team members and the value it could have for the test team.
Aishwarya, an undergraduate student asked a striking question, “How much information would be an overflow of information?”
The discussion then digressed to – When is the right time to get testers on the project for which all participants had different ideas and experiences. Many organizations have tried bringing in testers early and late and most of them are not yet sure when to bring them in.
I argued that it depends on the kind of a tester an organization is trying to bring in and other factors. Not all testers are the same. I have witnessed organizations that actively ignore testers in requirements review meeting as they have had a bad experience of bringing in a tester. It makes me think that if I lose credibility, it affects other team members in my test group. That is how important it is for each team member to have and build credibility.
Manjunath’s Presentation of Review of Review of Review of Bug Reports
He talked about his experience in one of his previous organization in the context of bug report reviews conducted to help testers log better and credible bug reports. This exercise was undertaken based on the success of improved bug report quality, post a review of each bug reported from the previous project.
This process was then declared a failure for the second project as its implementation went wrong and
ceased to exist thereafter, maybe.
Someone hasn't talked about it as "best practice" yet? It then digressed to how much English should testers know and then RM talked about practicing English as a daily activity as opposed to a one time upgrade of English skills.
We got back to reviewing and then discussed on reviewing as a skill and review effectiveness.
Lunch Time folks!
At about , we walked to a nearby hotel down the street and carried over facilitation-less discussions over lunch table. A heavy lunch
Then when we returned, something helped us get the heat back… Rahul Verma’s presentation on Confessions of a Fallible Tester
This was a very energetic presentation we had for that day and thanks to Rahul Verma, he did it right at the time it was needed ( post lunch )
He made confessions of the mistakes he did right from the start of the career where he thought testing was not his cup of tea. He just did not confess but also explained how he learned from those mistakes and lived better after each big mistake.
One of his confession sounded very cool - “When senior testers in the team said XXXX XXXXXX was the best tool, I believed it” and then he explained how the project suffered because of that tool or the idea of thinking that as THE BEST Tool.
He explained how he cleared that trap and ended up writing a customized plug in to work with XXXX XXXXXX to make it suitable for his testing context.
He then confessed on another mistake of how two blank lines that caused the test environment to fail to enable the product to be tested over it. He or his team members make turned the case by defocusing the customer to something else when the customer observed it. The message was – Test your Test Environment. I think those who do that today are the ones who have realized the value of it. Many testers just setup and start running their test cases without bothering if test environment is what they intended it to be.
The discussion kicked off and we started discussing about tools. The topics varied from Automation Readiness to Vendors bribing managers to sell their tools to Good code versus Measurable Code.
He started with a cool question, "When people say WHY will you want to be a software tester, I ask WHY NOT" and I think that was exciting. RM had some interesting observations about IT people in
He then talked about his experience of witnessing developers who moved to testing because they were interested in testing. He then said based on his experience, “Jump into development first if you are serious about becoming a tester”. He shared the experience and value of hiring a person who earlier worked in a support job.
The discussion post this presentation helped in understanding how many different ways are there to get into testing and the value of taking each way. We also talked about the value of learning testing from other fields and that reminded me of CAST2008 conference theme and presentations from there.
We had an interesting comment that - By the time an organization implements some new practice as a "best practice" and penetrate every team, the idea is outdated. It reminded me of Ted Neward’s presentation at Oredev08 where he talks about the time difference of programming language birth to becoming an industry usage.
Shrini talked about his experience of becoming a tester and then about how he grew from being a fresher in software testing to wherever he currently is. He then talked about an interesting experience of Test Automation Readiness Assessment that he was supposed to do for a client in
Shrini also talked about his consulting experience and mentioned that almost all test consulting assignments he witnessed, the client was interested in knowing some "universal" or industry standard benchmark related to testing - be it dev to test ratio or % of project cost that could be associated to testing. His experience was that he rarely witnessed anyone challenging those industry standards. In his opinion - That is hindrance for our profession.
Discussions on Test Automation, mindset and skill set followed Shrini’s presentation until the bell rang at
We had a quick check out and got on to the socializing evening and facilitation-less discussions. We decided on a
What a fantastic learning to all of us. I must thank Shikhar Singh and Raghu Sahay for coming down from Mumbai and Pune to attend BWST-1. It was fantastic to note that Aishwarya Shukla, an undergraduate student, wanting to do a software testing project as his final year project after attending BWST along with Santhosh Tuppad who completed Practical Software Testing Training at Edista and has been working on several testing assignments as a freelancer. Every participant asked questions that helped other people learn and discover more about themselves and the work they do.
Once again, special thanks to Mohan Panguluri, Pradeep Chennavajhula and Rachna for providing us the space @ Edista Testing. I wish India has more leaders like them who facilitate knowledge sharing and learning in software testing without just being business minded.
- Only testers can talk about Testability
- Book suggestion: Perfect Software and other Illusions about Testing – Jerry Weinberg
- “Every bug is a duplicate of a master bug that the product fails to do something that is important to work for someone” – if that sounds bad - that's still me.
- Philosophy in Golf & Testing – Adam Goucher
- Bug Advocacy – Cem Kaner
- How to investigate Intermittent Problems –
James Bachblog post
- “The best tester is the one who gets
the mostthe right bugs fixed” – Cem Kaner in Bug Advocacy
- Do confess when you screw up
- Turning Numbers into Knowledge – A book by Jonathan Koomey
- Lessons Learned in Software Testing – Kaner, Bach, Pettichord
- “Automation could be a dangerous word for a tester” – Rahul Verma
- “If you have failed big, it indicates you rose to a great height” – Rahul Verma
- Value of Checklists – Cem Kaner’s presentation in CAST 08
- Video Record Your Bugs
- The intake I have had from BWST-1, has questioned what I have learned so far. It has helped me to unlearn and learn consistently - Ravisurya
- "When I spoke to support teams, it changed the way I tested, forever" - Rahul Mirakhur “
- After I attended Rapid Software Testing Workshop, my testing improved” – Ajay Balamurugadas
- “The value you add as a tester is like
NAVof an investment. It changes every day” – Shrini
- General Systems Thinking – A book by Jerry Weinberg