"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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Very true my friend
very true.....

goin through the same......

Ps: keep posting.....

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi E41,

E41 reminded me my college days ! Good to hear that you too are being "monkeyed" .. pass it on to all other "monkeys" too :-D


Pradeep Soundarajan