"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, 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!


Rajesh Barde said...

Scenario: You have called somone at some point of time and after the conversation, you keep the reciever down. Then, your phone rings and once you lift the reciever, there's no voice. Actually, it is a bounce call that happens after you make a call.

Test Data: Any phone no.

Expected Result: After the phone is disconnected, there should not be any bounced ring on your phone.

Actual Result: For every call you made, after ending the call and hanging the phone down, the bounced ring of the phone happens.

Status: FAIL

Hey, this is wrong. I don't deserve a prize.

Rajesh Barde

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@ Rajesh,

Pam Pam Pam - you are wrong.

Keep trying, dont give up !

Anonymous said...

i am not a professional tester. i am an engineering student aspiring to be a tster. so donno much just a wild guess.

it can be something to do with epbax whenever there is a internal call from say desk a to desk b. and so on so forth. along with the destination recciver your recciver(phone)also gets a parallel signal. and when the desk b picks up the recciver the ringing stops. and this parallel signal to to phone is generated whenver there is a call from in the epbax.

now is that right....haha donno was just what i thought as a amateur. let us know the right ans waiting for it.

in case my ans is right( any chance ..lol) i dont need 500 bucks maybe u can donate that to some charity as a token. thanks
nice posts pradeep.


Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi Mr V,

Although you are a student, you did show good spirits and I wish you get to become a good tester in future. Although you dont win the 500 bucks for an incorrect answer, you win my wishes and just in case you think I can be of any help to you, get in touch with me.


A student has shown his spirits, what are you doing?

Anonymous said...

In order to find the root cause i would like to know if the same problem occurs when you Diverts all incoming calls to your number to another internal phone.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi Ashish,

If I divert an incoming call to a specific number obviously any call would be diverted to that number.

Come on, push more hard !

Anonymous said...

Need more info:
Are all the wrong calls for same person or different person?

If it is for same person then that person's call has been diverted to your no.

If it is for different person then
a) Connection problem at the exchange.
b) somebody has got a big time crush on you ;-)

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi ikg,

No it is not from the same person and there is no connection problem at the exchange and no diverts too.

Infact, I too thought initially it could be a divert but I am sure it is not since I have identified the problem.

No crushes on me :(

Anonymous said...

Hi Prdeep!
What I guess it not any technical prob.
May be more than one employee of ur company(including U) ve got printed the same extension no in ur visiting cards by mistake.

Just a guess from ur Clues no 1 &2.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what it is.

I thought so:
First scenario

You and another person have similar names.

You arrived after him in the office.

That person is perhaps assistant manager or someone who receives many calls from the workers.

The workers got used with typing only the first two letters of the name and then call.
After you came, typing the first two letters is now calling your number.

I did not have time to really think a lot on this (busy at work :)).

Second scenario (I called someone and said: oh, I wanted to call aomeone else):

I was working on a project and discovered a bug.

I started dialing a name to talk with a dev.

I saw another thing and wanted to talk with another dev.

I was distracted by my co tester who updated my impression on the second issue I found.

So I dialed the number and when the first dev answered, I said: sorry I wanted to talk with someone else.

I thought so because:
1. I called someone and said: oh, sorry, I wanted to call someone else:) - so I described how I did that.

2. It is now a network issue - I also saw it is not divert issue, nor calling and coming back call.

So I thought is could be a "people" problem.

I am very curious what the problem really was :).

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Subranshu and Victor,

You two are close but not close enough.

Others might get clues from your comments and solve the problem, so work faster than them.

Anonymous said...

hi,i have a guess,lets c if it works.

suppose if there r more than 1 person in the office with the same name,but diff. initials n if the names r displayed in the list as say example: suresh.A,suresh.B,suresh.C.if ur name is suresh.A then it appears first in the list.thing is, if the staff communicate very freaquently with suresh.B but they might not remember his inetial n obviously select the first name n dial it.if ur name is first in the list then u will be the victim.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi Jaypal,

Someone already said this, I guess so but it is wrong again. The problem I identified occurs even if there is one Pradeep in an office.

Now, isn't that an interesting puzzle ?

Suresh Marappa said...

Hi Pradeep,

I think the problem is with the extension number.

Assumptions and Steps:
1) Most of the companies will provide the extension number with 3/4/5 digits (234/2344 etc)
2) While setting up the EPBX they will give one stand number like 0-9(any one number between 0 to 9) before entering the land line or mobile number as activation number.
3) In most of the companies ‘0’ will be the activation number.
4) If your company has the activation number like 1 to 9 and by mistake your extension number is assigned as ‘0’ then you can expect this type of miss calls.
5) Resin: most of them will be having the practice of typing ‘0’ for activation and your extension number might be 0.

Anonymous said...

Me again :).

I pick up the phone.
I press directory.
I type the first letter of a co-worker.
Then I type a letter which is not in any name in the office.
The phone displays unknown, but if I press OK, it dials the number of the person displayed for the first letter I introduced.

I don't think this is the cause in your problem, because you said it is not about pressing a wrong key.
Still, I thought you would like to know how my phone acts :).

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Victor, wrong again but a good try. Keep trying, you never know which attempt of yours could turn out to be successful.

Anonymous said...

as u said .. miss calls.. and lot of them... hmmm it means ur ext phone lines are somewhere touching ur exchange router lines i.e u are getting all calls in router which are in turn diverted to u also :)

but but but u also said 'wrong numbers coming to you' so one more case may be that ur extension number is mentioned in case 'Actual person to be receive call' is not picking up the phone.

what say pardeep.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi Jagdeep,

Sorry to say but you are wrong. I said it is not a technical problem. Anyhow that gave a new dimension and keep trying.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep,
Here the puzzle it self seems to be not clear, whether you were getting miss calls or wrong calls if you spceify that clearly then we can think about it in that particular angle only
here most of the people are thinking as wrong calls and few are thinking as miss calls

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi Anonymous,

If I miss a call from a wrong call, it still is a missed call for me unless I know whether people tried reaching me or not.

However, it is good that you did ask this question but the answer for your question is already there in this post. I kindly request you to look at it carefully.

Anonymous said...

HI Pradeep,

Thanks for your response, I can't agree that miss calls and wrong calls are not same because
Miss call - is the one which we don't receive it
Wrong call - is teh one which we receive and find that its not for us
so you can never say wrong call can be a miss call.
why i asked this question was if its a miss call then we can think like whether some one is doing it intensionally and if its a wrong call then we can think what could be the reason to receive so many wrong calls
correct me if i am wrong

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi Anonymous,

I can't agree that miss calls and wrong calls are not same

Unless you lift the phone you will not know whether it is a wrong call ( as per your definition ). So if you a miss a wrong call, you have to call it as a missed call !

I am sure if I have to explain more clear than this, I need to copy paste the same :)

Yet, thanks for giving your views, I am learning something from it.

Anonymous said...

One more engineering student writing in. I'm interested a lot in different fields in computing, saw this and felt the urge to answer. Don't know if this is right or wrong, but I think it is a possibility.

You were working on something and you didn't want to be disturbed, so you switched off the ringer of your telephone. But you got so caught up with your job, you forgot to switch it back to the normal mode. So, the telephone stayed silent and you did not get to answer any calls. I thought about this, since you posted that the problem was on your end and there seemed to be no technical issues which I observed(or did I overlook it?? Please do let me know :))

Will keep a tab on this blog for other posts :)

Anonymous said...


I am a starter... I want to convey few words.

If you have worked in Night Shift and if your admin is not available in night. Also if you are responsible person in night shift then again if you had lot of clients. Again if any Domestic/External calls may setup to divert to your number at nights. While the cal rings and at same time if any one of your collegues have picked-up using internal extension like 74 then it will be a missed cal for you...
I don't know how far I did... Kindly ask us more question like this to improve our Knowledge.


Anonymous said...

You have disabled your ringtone.

Do I win a T-shirt?

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@ Anonymous,

You actually deserve a T-shirt for giving an answer that no one gave but the T-Shirts are out of stock.

Keep trying!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep,

The logic is like this telephone has 10 keys to dial a particular phone number those are 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.

One of the keys is faulty for e.g. key no 2 is faulty.
So while dialing number such as 56309801 it will not give a wrong call (It will work as expected means you can call properly to a desired person)

But if you want to dial a number 56209801 it will go to wrong destination, as key 2 is faulty so sometimes you need to say "Oh sorry, I was trying some one else".

So conclusion is one of the keys in your phone is faulty means it dials a wrong. That’s why some calls you made from your phone including that key are go wrong.

Thanks and Regards,

Software Test Lead.
Vyom Labs Pvt Ltd.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


I liked the way you explained but I am afraid the answer is not correct to the context of this puzzle!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what your extension number was...
But assuming from previous posts that it related to your name Pradeep
Your phone number would be 7723.
It is possible that when this is written in a different font it can be easily confused with 1123
I wonder if 1123 was a reserved number for something like voicemail or the helpdesk and people misread the number on printed material.

Unknown said...

Pradeep, I think your extension number was close to the office general enquiry number. I mean say suppose your office number is 080-2596 8432 and your extension is 8433, generally people tend to call up enquiry desk and if it is found busy they think that the next number would also be the enuiry desk itself.

Like companies put their numbers as 2596 8432/3/4/5 so, I guess people just assumed that the next number would also route them to enquiry personnel.

This is a tricky puzzle infact but am just guessing here. I know this question was posted many days back but still this is for my curiosity. Is my answer right??

Anonymous said...

Assign this Extn number to someone else and see if the same thing happens to him .

Rajesh said...

Hi Pradeep,
I Guess, this may be one of the possible scenario.
a) First Ext# was assigned to person 'A' who was working in division1 from many days. As he/she is working from many days in same division his/her Ext# will be noted to many of them.
b) Next 'A' was moved to different division, say division2 and you were joined newly into that division(division1).
c) So, now (assuming) A's Ext# is assigned to you.
d)As this Ext# is noted to many of them, they simply dial this number without checking latest phone directory.

Is this correct ?

Rajesh Kumar Kovuri

Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep,
Gud puzzle!!!
This is just a wild guess…
As already said by others, there might be other Pradeep S2, where caller list contains your name as the first (Pradeep S1). Pradeep S2 might be working in night shifts (Like call centre inbound) and people in your office started dialling your number by mistake. Hence you keep on getting more missed calls at your absence and get wrong calls sometimes stating “Oh Sorry, I was trying someone else”
Please reveal the answer Pradeep.