"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, June 27, 2006

Tester in wonderland !

Hi Reader,

Have you ever wondered what is not allowing you to become a good tester ?

If you have wondered, good, here is your answer. If you have not, stop reading, go to wonderland and come back here. ( Don't fall in love with Alice there :P )

I see most of them wondering why they didn't become a good tester at some point of their lifetime.

There are three ways you climb up the corporate ladder -

1) You have the talent.
2) You have been in that company for a long time and they have no other go than promoting you.
3) I dont want to discuss those nasty ways.

So, if you have become a Lead or Manager, that clearly, does not imply, you are a good tester. Ask yourself which of the above category do you belong to?

__ Tester in wonderland __

Well, this post is about "who did not allow you to improve your skills?". Its my 2 years of research, just for you in one post.

There are two people who did not allow you to become a good tester -

a) Its you.
b) Its the people you asked your doubts.

"Pradeep, to get this answer you researched for 2 years? Dumbo ! " , any such expressions from your side ?. If so, do not read further, remain in love with Alice.

Let me explain to others in detail -

a) I had mentioned the first person who disallowed you to become a good tester is "you" -

Well, that is true. You must have partially agreed but let me clear you, just in case you are doubtful.

"Pradeep, the only person who stops you from improving is yourself" is the first lesson I remember from my Guru Mr Sridhar Krishnamurthy's golden mouth.

Now, it is my guru's words, why should you believe that ? Moreover, I wanted to ask myself "it sounds great but is it the truth ?"

I then looked back a few years to shout "Yes, I improved on something and it was me who wanted to improve and it was me who worked for it"...

The incident dates back to my teen age where I first started playing Table Tennis and discovered that I loved playing it. I wanted to become a very good player and I asked my friend to coach me. He was a state player and had a TT board in his house. As I came from a middle class background, my dad could not afford for a TT bat at that time. My birthday was approaching and I had to fight with my parents I did not want a new dress but instead a TT bat. So the deal was struck and I had a bat and new inner garments alone :( .

My friend Vikram Chandra, who was a state player at that time, cheated me often by calling me to his home to play and used to tell some lame reasons. At least 20 times I have come back home disappointed. Then I realized, why not I keep thinking of TT and when I get a chance to play, I put my thoughts to work. So I started day/night dreaming about TT. Whenever I got a chance, I used to be so happy that my dreaming helped me a lot to better and control my shots.

Today is a day where anyone plays TT with me, they admire my play, placements, shots, tricks ... what not. I feel am a super hero when in it comes to TT.

Now why did I give you all this gyaan is to tell you... start dreaming.

If you are worried that you wanted to test database systems but you are doing something else, dream and keep dreaming about how you would test database systems. Dream of those fantastic bugs you will find if given a chance. Dream of those fantastic bug reports you would write. Dream of you becoming an expert and never end your dreams. Once you get a chance in your life to test database, you will outperform your capabilities.

b) I had mentioned that "Its the people you asked your doubts" are also the ones who does stop you to become a better tester.

"Pradeep when your guru said 'it is only you who stops from improving' why are you mentioning someone else also as the contributing factor' ".

Dhrona was proud of coaching Arjuna because Arjuna surpassed Dhrona in the skill of Archery and that is the guru dhakshin*, a true student should give back to the guru. Similarly, I extended the research to find out ....

I went and asked many testers a lot of basic questions in testing. I was surprised, none of them told "I don't know". God , how can all of those testers know everything I asked and yet all answers for the same set of questions were different.

This is why I keep telling people do not ask your doubts on testing to someone who is not sure.
"Pradeep then how do we get an answer?"

Well, if you have brains, think and you will get the answer, you actually need not ask someone.

"Pradeep, can you teach me a method where I can think and get answers in testing"
"Yes, Sure !"

Ok, let us assume you want to know the difference between Load and Stress testing -

1. Go and look for a dictionary and find out the meaning for "Load" and "Stress".
2. My dic says "Load" is - Weight to be borne or conveyed and "Stress" is force that produces strain on a physical body.
3. Now take an example - A chair.

Now start thinking , what is "Load Testing" for a chair..

Assuming a chair is designed to take a 50 Kilograms of load, Load testing would be loading the chair for 10 kilos, 20 kilos, 30 kilos, 40 kilos, 45 kilos, 47.5 kilos, 49 kilos, 49.1 ... 49.9 kilos...50 .. 50.01 ... 50.9.

Now start thinking, what is "Stress Testing" for a chair..

Assuming the same chair to be subjected to stress test - take a 50 kilos weight and apply the weight to its centre , corners, over the rim, shake the weight after putting it to rest over chair, axial weight loading, concentric weight loading ... keeping the 50 kilos weight for 10 days on the chair, checking for deformations in the chair after 10 days....

Wow ! this is how I learnt the difference between Load and Stress testing and I need not ask anyone hereafter and get confused. The only thing I did is to cross check with a few experts about my experimental thinking about Load and Stress testing and if they agree, well and good, I am an expert thinker.

After such learnings, someday, a tester asked me "What is the differnce between load and stress testing?". I asked "Don't you know ?" , the reply was "I know but I am not sure."

Ah ! Awesome, I was clear since I learnt on my own, when you start asking people who have different perceptions that is a never ending loop, neither you learn nor the ones who taught you.

_ End of __ Tester in wonderland ! __

"Saying "I dont know" is an art, Saying bull shit is a fart"
Pradeep Soundararajan
Disclaimer: I do not mean consult no one to learn but do not talk about testing with half baked minds. They are poisonous and its a communicable posion. I do not say this is the best way but this are my own experiments and it is Tester Tested ! I request all those so called Tester "Please do not confuse your junior testers, if you have a good heart say ' I will refer and get back to you' or ' let me know if you get the answer for that' "
* Guru Dhakshin - fees, duty towards a teacher..
Prayer : " Oh God, Let all Testers start thinking on their own and let them not confuse or get confused"


Amol Agare said...

Dreams really come true, Dreams really had come true, Dreams really will come true, Juzz d matter that never stop dreaming.....

Anonymous said...

I was always lucky enough to work with people who are not afraid to say: I do not know; or: I will think about it, look into it and we can talk about this later.
I really hope you all have the same luck, and also answer the same way.
Because you can do very much damage to a newcomer if you just throw in an answer to get rid of a question or mask your limitation.
I found out that good developers do not try to hide the defects. Sadly, there are also developers who almost everytime you go to them with some issue, get very defensive.

And Pradeep, I am reading this for quite a while, very helpfull.
I will direction any engineer to this (not only testers).

Anonymous said...

Pradeep as said in this blog start dreaming about the relevant concepts is applicable to everyone not only the testing community,but for everyone.Keep going Pradeep

Ramanujam Manchikalapudi

Anonymous said...


I read your blog from orkut and you are great and i respect all your views. I abecame your fan when i read the explanation for load and stress testing. my friends always get confused that stress testing is putting more load than designed but u cleared all my dounbts on this that with the same load a system can be stressed.

if i want to tell one thing about this Tester Tested! I say very good for making a tester think on the material he studies.

Saint said...


your narration is good and helping many.

have few comments on this particular posts.

1. The use of Performance test results is to compare performance of two different products. So it has be done at a constant load on both products taken for comparison

2. "He stressed on his idea to drop the plan"
"Stress the letter 'A' while saying aloud"

Above mentioned usage of word "Stress" gives the meaning that "Going beyond limits for a specific reason". If the testing is performed beyond normal (specified) load limits, it is appropriate to say the product is under stress.

My take,
Performance : Check product characteristics at Constant Loads
Stress : Check product stablity at Variable Loads

Load Testing : Performance + Stress + similar types(Testing with loads)

In fact this was my findings for a fresher's question during my orientation session. Probably you may want to rethink these definition on your posting, so many would get benefited.

keep up the good work

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Its almost 2 years since I wrote this post. The learning I have had definitely wants me to re-think on these posts and ideas. Re-working on these posts is something that I plan to do as an exercise over the coming days and thanks for bringing more emphasis on it.

I look forward to more interaction from you.