"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 06, 2014

Pregnancy Analogies - Part 2

We look at test case pass and fail to make shipping decisions

There are pregnancy tests whose results turn out to be false positives and false negatives. In the pregnancy context, it would be very disappointing if the result is false positive or false negative, especially if the expected was an opposite. In India, I have seen and heard women who cry out of pain when the result turns negative when they want it to be positive. Similarly, teenagers (and those who think they have had enough kids) expecting a negative and false positives could drive them crazy causing a psychological stress.

A test case pass or fail can be a false positive or false negative.

Skilled software testers are aware of the existence of false positives and false negatives hence they investigate every bug they find or if software "works" despite the test case pass.

When I do strategy for testing, my strategy involves - doing tests to determine false positives and false negatives. Building heuristics (test ideas) and oracles (or expected results) that cross check results without causing an over head to my test progress is an approach that I use for my testing.

For instance, in Moolya when we were designing a strategy for testing a mobile app for a banking application - we decided to put tests in a specific sequence (that I cannot reveal) to test for false positives. We were able to test for data accuracy while it could look like simple functional tests.

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