"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, November 30, 2006

Indian testing community - start blogging!

Hi Reader,

It has been a great learning for me and I am sure you wont deny that, as you have been reading my blog. My effort to become a Test Consultant is just to benefit the Indian testing community and in turn learn from you all and contribute to the testing community.

In the last few months, many Indian testers have been contacting James Bach for an individual coaching as how I have been receiving but it is the time that is a constraint for James, otherwise he loves coaching testers and it is his passion too.

Now, if you are so keen in getting trained from an expert, you need to prove to them that you are worth their time. How can you do that?

Blogging, is the way!

Dedicate a blog to testing. Show your passion, share your learning and encourage people to comment and do lots such. Who knows an expert might read your blog and like it!

I see many testers in western countries have a blog of their own and you might also know that companies like Microsoft encourage their employees to have a blog. There are lot of Indian testers who do blog on testing but a major part is a copy-paste stuff is what they do and interview questions and answers as their blog posts which does not stand as a proof that they are passionate about testing.

I consider this testing blog as a successful one. I don't have a million readers a month but have some good testers and experts as my blog readers and that is what I want.

I can show you many Indian testers and some developers blogs who have started their own after seeing my blog. I do not want to link them now since they are in a bad state. Excitement was the reason they started blogging and wrote one or two posts but they were unable to go beyond that because only enthusiasm can keep you blogging and not excitement of seeing a blog's success.

Don't start blogging just because you want to become a successful blogger but start blogging when you want to learn and better yourself as a tester.

This is how I started my blog -
  • My friend Preetam Modur, who had been listening what I think about testing and has seen me testing products, asked me to start a blog to share my thoughts with many testers. He also explained me the power of blogging.
  • I decided to start a blog and started a study on blogs. I started looking at a lot of blogs in testing. I found the ones who have shared their learning and thoughts as very interesting ones. I found nothing interesting in the ones that had a copy-paste of some information available on the net. I decided, I should not be doing that since it does not suit me.
  • I wanted to use this blog as a channel to express my passion towards this testing craft.
  • I wrote a few posts and I myself read it more than a 100 times. I tested my posts by forcing a few people who critique me for whatever thing I do and got good results out of it. My posts improved as days passed.

Why testers who tried aping Tester Tested unable to continue? ( could be one of the following...)

  • They wanted to get success in a short span without putting much effort.
  • They thought it is easy to write a blog and maintain it.
  • They started with an intention to have a huge reader base.
  • They started because it worked for me.
  • They weren't passionate about testing

Recently a tester from Chennai named Debasis recieved a surprise comment from James Bach on his blog and that must have made him one of the happiest tester for the day.

Another Indian tester who has blogged with real passion is Shrinivas Kulkarni . He is a Senior Test Manager in iGate, Bangalore. He gets James Bach to comment on his blog on a regular basis.

Remain passionate and blog!

Start blog and let me know your link after you write a couple of posts. Even today, I keep visiting the blogs of those testers who have started after looking at mine, to see if they have posted something new although they themselves do not seem to visit their own. That is the kind of encouragement I can offer you too.

As I realize that Brazilian testers too have become my regular readers, I equally encourage them to start blogging.

Invent your own way or writing and blogging, what rule applies to you does not apply to me.

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan

(Anything on testing there is - pradeep.srajan@gmail.com , At least I reply, "I don't know")

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Test Consulting in 2007 by Tester Tested!

Hi Reader,

In 2006 many of you who popped into my blog were able to return with a satisfaction of learning something.

2007 is approaching and what is in store for you from this blog?

Yeah, I have something more exciting and wonderful learnings to share with you.

Pradeep, how are you confident about that?

Yeah, I am positioning myself as an Independent Test Consultant in 2007

How does that benefit Indian Testers or any tester for that matter?

I am a good enough tester and I have helped many testers, coaching them online and through face to face meetings. I have held a peer conference kind of stuff in Bangalore that encouraged testers to meet, interact and learn from each other. As I am on my own now, I got the freedom to coach and learn from you all out there.

So, coaching is your only service?

While coaching is one of them, I love testing assignments and exercises that challenge me as a tester, so if you or your company is interested in making me test your products, analyze it, profile it and add further value to the product, I do it with great zeal.

There are a whole lot of things, I can do for you when it comes to testing.

Can we have your profile to share it with our management to let them know, you are "good enough"?

Yes, sure. Save a copy of this pdf - Pradeep Soundararajan - Profile June 2007 and pass it on to your management.

I am an individual, what services can I get from you?

No worries, I would love to help any tester who wants to better himself as a tester since coaching such testers help me better myself too. I learn from anyone and anything and moreover, I practice the things I learned.

If you are an individual from any place in India, team up with other testers which makes the cost cheaper.

I think I know better than you, what should I do?

Great! Irrespective of who you are, I like to learn from you.

Does this kind of a consulting thing works in India, while it is working in Western countries?

Yes, it works! (provided we try)

How do we get in touch with you?

pradeep.srajan@gmail.com or +91-98451-76817 ( haven't you looked at my profile yet?)

Thanks and Regards,

Pradeep Soundararajan

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yahoo! we crashed the Messenger

Hi Reader,

On November 13th 2006 9:30 PM IST, I noticed Prashant Kumar online in Yahoo! Messenger. Prashant is a passionate tester working in Bangalore and I've known him for the past 6 years, since we both are from the same batch of engineering and we lived nearby.

I engaged Prashant to take up a testing exercise to help me practice conducting an exercise. We were having a voice chat through Yahoo Messenger conference and I asked him to test the window through which we were chatting.

He was smart enough to start with questions like:

Prashant: Do you mean the voice conference window between us?

Pradeep: Yes!

Prashant: Okay, what do you want me to test in this?

Pradeep: "Send File" feature.

Prashant: Okay, let me start off with something like this... ( he listed out some types of files he would send.. *.exe, *.doc, *.zip, *.mp3, *.xls... corrupt files, sizes of file 0kb .. 1kb, 100 kb, 1MB, 1.1MB and started doing it )

Pradeep: ( Meanwhile, I too started exploring the feature. I noticed that I was able to invoke more than one session of "send file" for the same user)

Pradeep: Prashant, try doing this ( I explained to him what I did).

Pradeep: Prashant, don't you think it is a bug if windows are over lapping over each other, which blocks the end user to be unaware of the multiple sessions that has opened on his own multiple clicks of "send file"?

Prashant: Not sure, but wait let me investigate.( He goes offline suddenly)

Pradeep: (Meanwhile, I tried clicking on "send file" option multiple times., My Yahoo Messenger disappeared too) We both logged into Yahoo and got into a conference again.

Prashant: Hey, lets say it together... ( we both knew, the observation was obvious )

Chorus: Yahoo! Messenger crashed. Pradeep: Are you sure, you know the steps to reproduce?

Prashant: Yes, I do know.

Pradeep: Go ahead!

Prashant: ( narrates what he did to observe Yahoo! Messenger crash )

Pradeep: Oh! I thought it is something else, wait let me try the steps you mentioned. ( I followed and went offline)

Pradeep: (I did try the version of "steps to reproduce", I had in mind, the issue was not reproducible. So pair testing worked well)


Deep investigation starts... My learning from the exercise I took on investigating a bug as a part of James Bach's coaching, came handy...

1. We both made an attempt to arrive at a conclusion on "steps to reproduce" the issue and verified the same with each other.

2. The bug was easy to reproduce on our configurations. We saw it happen about thirty times.

3. We checked with ourselves, our PC and Laptop configurations to ensure we both did not have any other application/program causing this crash other than Yahoo Messenger.
Hopefully no virus/spyware that does not like Yahoo! (I used MSINFO32 to find out my laptop configuration and Prashant used DX , I compared both to see, they were different configurations. It gives evidence that it can be reproduced with more than one configurations or could be all. I applied an update to my AVG Free version anti virus and performed a quick scan for virus/spyware, I am not sure whether I asked Prashant to do this.)

4. We added another user to the chat session and discovered that the problem still occurs with three. We extended the experiment upto 5 users in the conference. The crash was seen each time by Prashant and me.
Voice was enabled in our original session, so we disabled voice and repeated the steps to reproduce the issue. Yahoo! crashed again.

5. Now we both started asking ourselves and each other; is there something that we could have missed? ( I am sure, we could have )

6. It is then an idea struck both of us; let's Yahoo and Google to check if this issue is already under "known limitations"? We could not find any such for the version we were using. Yahoo Messenger: and MyYahoo Module ( Its 1:20 AM IST, both of us remember our office work and the pending work we have tomorrow and set off to bed, Good night!)

7. (Nov 14th 2006, 10 30 PM IST) We craved for more evidence that could help to prove this bug and improve Yahoo Messenger. We then hit upon C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\logs\ . Ah, at least I could not understand those logs, so we decided to store that as a supporting evidence since as testers we claim to know, why someone (dev_guys) would have enabled logging for.

8.All done. Not yet... we wanted to have screen shots but the learning from -
Tools For Recording Exploratory Testing was applied. We used Wink to record our test and provide a visual of our steps to reproduce and make you all witness Yahoo disappearing :)

9. The report... which I am doing now...

Title: Yahoo Messenger crashes when multiple send file option is initiated for the same user from a conference window.

Steps to reproduce: ( pretty simple )

1. Download Yahoo Messenger latest version in your PC.
2. Log in/Log on with your user name and password.
3. Find a buddy online and invite him to a conference ( with or without voice enabled ).
4. Once your buddy joins the conference, click and highlight your buddy's id on the conference window.
5. Initiate a "send file" from the conference window.
6. Despite a "Select the file to send" window being opened, initiate "Send file" from the conference window for 7 times without selecting a file to send.

Observed result :

Yahoo! Messenger crashes.

Video link: Coming soon... ( Upload failure - My 14 upload attempts failed, am not giving up)

Yahoo Messenger logs collected from PC (C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\logs\ ) : Linked here

_ _ _

I am sure, we could have done a lot more but for me, my approach was good enough, just that I need more practice to become "very good" on investiagating a bug.


Pradeep Soundararajan

Pradeep's first language is testing and not English - Michael Bolton

Thursday, November 09, 2006

First attempt at Test Consulting : An experience report

_ my post in software-testing@yahoogroups.com a group owned by James Bach and Cem Kaner _

A start up company in Bangalore who were impressed by my blog
Tester Tested , invited me to test their products and train testers. I decided to do it in parallel.

Here goes some notes ...

I reached the place around 10:30 AM on Nov 4th, got a brief introduction to the company and the team. I went through the documents they gave me pertaining to the products I was supposed to test. The documents were not in detail but gave a general overview and yet I identified some key areas to test. I talked to the testers and developers to know the current state of the project and the need for calling me. That's like quickly getting to know the context.

I tried getting my mission as quick as possible and succeeded to get it at 11:15 AM. I wrote down the mission and asked them to check if I went wrong in understanding it.

Next move, I approached the tester and asked him to show me a demo of their product. I started digging for more info by asking questioning the testing. I found that the testers there had no clue what testing was and that is not surprising. Plus, they were sitting close to the developers that helped them to be biased.. "I saw it working on the developer's PC, so I did not test that" were the words from a tester. :)

The software is supposed to be sold to schools and colleges for the management to facilitate all the paper work to go online.

Some features of the software are

1. Admission process
2. Student attendance records
3. Library Management
4. Question paper generation

  • I questioned the need of every feature , every radio button, every format, every assumption from the developers, everything that I could see, everything that I could not see too..
  • The application was written in Java, and uses a Tomcat server to access the database ( MS Access ).

Two amongst many other interesting bugs I found helped me arrive at better informed decision about the product were.

1. The administrator was able to delete his own account details and whoosh.. There is no other power user than administrator, so the application became useless.

2. There was a "book search" option in Library Management, The field was not accepting more than a word, a developer's countered his assumption that it is a feature which makes the search simple for students to search for "java" , "testing". My counter counter argument was "If there is a book on testing which has a title "The craft of making good software", will a search on "testing" reveal this book?

  • This provoked me to make the developer list out all assumptions he had made to develop the software. I started testing all his assumptions and without surprise, most of his assumptions deviated the software from its purpose.
  • Every few minutes once, I kept saying to the testers there "Do not accept if I say something is wrong, I encourage you to argue with me on the point I say". ( The secret of getting better as a tester, learnt from James Bach)
  • It was around 1:45 and we all dispersed as it was late for lunch. 
  • 2:15, I am back, with a higher level of energy after lunch since I wanted to dig the software much deep.
  • I do not know what discussions the developers had during lunch but there were more people joining to see me test and discuss the issues. It gave me more confidence, since I made an assumption they were interested to see " how is this guy able to dig all this?"( Sometimes it is better to motivate yourselves, as a tester, by saying this "wow, developers too are interested to listen to me" )
  • I added great humour now and then and made the developer laugh at his own mistake than getting disappointed/frustrated in front of his seniors, internally felt "wow pradeep, you seem to be a good manager too"
  • I also helped them see the product in a number of ways, they might have not thought. I developed a good eye to eye contact with the 10 people I was surrounded by and whenever someone said "yes", I was convinced that they said "yes" from heart since their eyes too had the same expression.
  • Well as we were so involved with the discussion on issues and finding new bugs, we were surprised the bug count had gone beyond 50 or 70 after a while by around 4 O clock and out of them, many show stoppers.
  • I showed them at least one database corruption, tomcat server crash, multiple application crashes, multiple cosmetic bugs, requirements missing, design defects, multiple wrong assumptions.
  • At around 7 PM, I stopped by re-stating the mission I had and how much of it I felt, I finished. I also requested for feedback from them on their views on my results v/s mission objectives.
  • I motivated all the developers to challenge me the next time I drop in. I motivated the testers to challenge me and not even let the developers say "I can challenge pradeep".
  • At 7 25 PM: "Pradeep ... Pradeep" a voice came out from a guy who seemed to be chasing me from another bike. I stopped my bike to discover he was one of the developer who followed me for a distance. After we stopped he said, "I was impressed and never knew testing was so creative, I want to shift to testing"
  • He asked for the books he has to read and I suggested the two books I feel are bible for starters. Of course, the two books are Learning Software Testing - Dr Cem Kaner, Jack Falck, Hung Ngyuen and Lessons learnt in software testing - Dr Cem Kaner, James Bach and Bret Pettichord.

I was very happy of having done a good enough job. I felt the following points could make my guru James Bach happy of having coached me for free ( I could not have afforded had he charged me :) ) 

I felt that 

  • I asked good questions that reveal great information about the current state of the product, its quality. Got my mission. 
  • Collected enough evidence to prove a bug. 
  • Talked specific. 
  • Recovered from my own mistakes rapidly. 
  • Learnt the product at its breadth in a short while.
  • Performed exploratory testing better than my previous attempts.
  • And said to myself, "This is still the beginning...".
I got a message today morning (Nov 5th) from one of the developer "I am still wondering; how you were able to make the Tomcat disappear?" and the company has decided to re design the whole software and are going to invite me for another round of testing. ( Of course they would invite me, I did not charge them anything )

I am sure, I am not yet as good as most of you here are but I am happy that I am in the same road you traveled sometime back and I see you far far away. Miles to go before someone sees me as far as I am seeing you all today.

Many thanks to people like Dr Cem Kaner, Michael Bolton, Mike Kelly, James Bach, Johanna Rothman, Jerry Weinberg, Jon Bach, Simon Fields, and all of you, who have inspired me in one or many ways, to put in lot of hard work and develop myself as a better tester each day. I wish to work more hard and hence keep inspiring me.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Know what you are asked to test - Audio podcast

Hi Reader,

All this while you have been reading my posts but now you are going to hear from me as well.

Hurrah, that's great news! ( at least for me )

_ Know what you are asked to test _

Before I posted this audio in my blog, I did send this to a couple of testers in India and Brazil and their views have made me to go ahead post this as my first audio podcast. ( Look at me, as a tester, I did test my content before posting it for you).Thanks to those folks from Brazil and India for their time and views.

This audio you are going to listen, is around 5 minutes and according to me; is able to convey what I wanted to and so I am happy :).

After listening to the file, you would be able to compare the approach of most of the testers in India and the approach that has evolved out of research by experts like James Bach, Cem Kaner , Jerry Weinberg ... I am sure, after listening to the file you might be able to design better tests for any given product and you would gain a satisfaction of bettering yourself as a tester.

If you are a newbie to testing, this audio file might be the first step for you to start traveling the road to become a good tester. If you are experienced, no issues, check if there is something missing in your approach after listening.

If you are an expert, the file you need to listen, is still in making :P

Thanks to Tarik Seth who came to my home to be a part of this exercise.

Hey Pradeep, where is the file you are talking about?

Right click -> Open -> Save THIS FILE to your hard disk . (This file is put in a temporary location and will be moved to a permanent location soon and hence link this post and not the file alone)

Now you might want to read - Million questions a tester should ask !

_ Know what you are asked to test _

" there could have been a better question here, isn't it? "

Thanks and Regards,
Pradeep Soundararajan

Note:You are free to distribute this file to other testers whom you want to improve along with you. Also, if you or your organization wishes to have such exercises that can make testers better testers, get in touch with me. Also, if you are an individual who wishes to join me for an exercise or want to get test my exercises, you still can get in touch with me :)