Archive | Testing Methodologies

Defining Your Role as a Tester

Recently, I have found myself focusing less on the quality of an organization’s products from amarkusgaertner tester’s perspective. At this point, I find myself more and more in the role of helping organizations see the larger picture: How are they set up? What causes conflicts? How does the structure of the organization help build better quality? Most recently, I came across the work from Frederic Laloux and his book titled “Reinventing Organizations“.

Laloux has observed several companies in various fields that have a different structure than more traditional companies. The fields he examines range from nursing to car parts manufacturing. One of the things Laloux found out while studying these companies was the practice of self-defined roles. The idea is this: As an employer, you find out where you passion lies, and what you are good at doing. Additionally, you find out how your skills and your passions can bring value to your team, and your company. Then you go out, take advice from your peers, in order to define the role that you want to fill.

Ever since I read this, I wondered whether a different definition for testers based on this practice might be useful, and where it might harm larger efforts. Let’s explore these ideas. Continue Reading →

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Auditing and Software Testing: What’s the Connection?

The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Sanjay Zalavadia of Zephyr.clipboard

Proper software testing and quality assurance requires more than just versatile, reliable tools. Stakeholders must also ensure that team members are interacting well, making relevant contributions and working toward predefined testing metrics.

How software auditing and testing complement each other

Fortunately, there’s a lot of overlap between having a sound technical solution and a good software audit process. The two essentially have a complementary relationship:

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Q&A: ‘Let’s Test’ Leader Talks Global Reach of Context-Driven Testing, Previews Conference

Johan Jonasson is one of the organizers of Let’s Test conferences, which celebrate the context-driven school of JohanJonassonthought. In addition to co-founding testing consulting firm House of Test, Johlets-test-logo-180x47pxan is a contributing delegate at the SWET peer conferences, and has spoke at several national & international software testing conferences. He is also an active member of the Association for Software Testing (AST). Follow him on Twitter @johanjonasson.

Let’s Test 2015 is slated for May 25-27, 2015, in Stockholm, Sweden, and uTest has secured an exclusive 10% discount off new registrations. Email testers@utest.com for this special discount code, available only to registered uTest members.

In this interview, we talk with Johan on the global, inclusive context-driven testing community, and get a sense of what testers can expect at the 2015 edition of Let’s Test.

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ISO 29119: Why is the Debate One-Sided?

unnamedIn August, the Stop 29119 campaign and petition kicked off at CAST 2014 in New York. In September, I wrote on the uTest Blog about why the new ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119 software testing standards are dangerous to the software testing community and good testing.

I was amazed at the commotion ‘Stop 29119′ caused. It was the biggest talking point in testing in 2014. Over six months have passed, and it’s time to look back. What has actually happened?

The remarkable answer is – very little. The Stop 29119 campaigners haven’t given up. There have been a steady stream of blogs and articles. However, there has been no real debate; the discussion has been almost entirely one-sided.

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When You Should Choose Manual vs. Automated Testing

ibook-software-developmentThe following is a guest post to the uTest Blog by Eli Lopian of Typemock.

QA analysts and IT firms are often confronted with the same question when testing a software project — whether to go with manual software testing options or to try out new automated techniques.

In certain situations, there are clear advantages to working with automated software testing solutions, and other times the automated software technology is too leading-edge and could wind up costing you way more than it’s worth. That’s why it’s essential to weigh the costs and benefits according to each project.

Manual Software Testing 

Manual Software Testing is the process of going in and running each individual program or series of tasks and comparing the results to the expectations, in order to find the defects in the program. Essentially, manual testing is using the program as the user would under all possible scenarios, and making sure all of the features act appropriately.

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Is Scripted Testing Just for the Newbie Tester?

Scripted testing naturally seems like it’s a match made in heaven just for the novice tester.Microsoft Web Test Managment Runner Hub Test Runner Anna Russo

After all, you have steps and directions clearly defined — wouldn’t the inviting structure to the scripted testing compensate for a lack of experience on the part of the tester? Not necessarily, if you ask our uTesters, whom recently approached the topic in a lively Analyze This testing debate in our uTest Forums.

Most of our community members found that while experienced testers may be spending their time creating test cases and junior testers executing them, there were several notable reasons as to why executing these important steps can’t just be left exclusively to the novice.

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Authors in Testing Q&A With Agile Testing Champion Lisa Crispin

Lisa Crispin was voted the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person at Agile Testing Days 2012 by her peers, and enjoys working asCrispinDonkey a tester with an awesome agile team. She shares her experiences via writing, presenting, teaching and participating in agile testing communities around the world.

She is also the author and contributor of numerous software testing books, including her latest, released in October and co-authored with Janet Gregory, More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team. You can learn more about Lisa’s work on her site, and follow her on Twitter @lisacrispin.

In this uTest interview, Lisa explains the reality of agile adoption and suggests ways teams can succeed with agile.

uTest: Where have companies or teams gone most wrong when rolling out agile in their organizations?

Lisa Crispin: Many organizations don’t understand that to succeed at software development, we have to focus on delivering the best possible quality, rather than focusing on speed. Too many think that “agile” means “fast.” You need a big investment in time and training so that teams learn important practices such as TDD, CI, specification by example/behavior-driven development, helping business stakeholders identify the most valuable features, and so on. Teams that don’t nurture a learning culture where failure is tolerated, experiments are supported, and the team has diversity, accumulate too much technical debt and fail.

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What is Exploratory Testing? Find Out with a New Course and Webinar

Exploratory testing (ET) is a hot topic within the testing world. Testers who are not familiar with exploratory testing are looking for resources to understand what it is and how to get started testing in this way. binocular_man-300x273

We recently debuted a new course in uTest University called “What is Exploratory Testing?” penned by Lucas Dargis and Allyson Burk. In it, we look at the “traditional” approach to testing, and review what ET is and how it differs from scripted testing.

We also look at why you should use exploratory testing and wrap up by showing testers how to get started. In the course excerpt below, we answer the question: what is exploratory testing?
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How Sesame Street Can Help You Become a Better Software Tester

indexAll I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten.

STARWEST presenter Robert Sabourin – a 30+ year veteran and well-respected member of the software development community – took that nugget of conventional wisdom and put his own unique tech spin on it in his course on Testing Lessons Learned from Sesame Street.

While the topic was fun and lighthearted, Rob took his subject matter seriously and impressed on attendees just how important it is to learn and master the basics. But what are “the basics”?

Let’s take a closer look at what you really need to know to build a solid software testing foundation.

Rob’s presentation focused on two main areas of professional – and personal! – development: cognitive skills and social skills. Developing your cognitive skills allows you to think more analytically, to develop efficient models and lay out precise explanations for your processes and reasoning. Strong social skills elevate your ability to collaborate to a whole new level of effectiveness and can help grow your reputation as a thought-leader.

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How We Really Need to Stop ISO 29119

After some real consideration, I have decided to sign the Stop 29119 petition, and along the way also signed the Professional Tester’s Manifesto.stop-29119

The main reason that really resonates with me is that companies, who would normally not use the standard, would be compelled to comply with it just to win business. If there are even a few companies that conform to the standard which are successful, and it doesn’t have to be because they comply with the standard, others will try to follow their path.

At some point, almost every company complies with the standard, and no one knows the reason, only just that the paperwork is unbearable, there isn’t any room for actual testing, and they are afraid to step out of this vicious circle. I do not wish for the testing field to go through this, and that is why I have signed the petition.

But here is where it gets tricky: I think the people who started this opposition to stop the ISO should have thought more about their actions before jumping the gun. One of the few problems I have with this course of opposition is that it gives too much power to the body behind the standard. After some time, all this opposition will turn into just information. People searching for testing-related information may come across all these countless blogs against 29119, and the only thing they will do is research the standard and tell themselves that so many people wrote about it, they should try it, and maybe convince their companies to comply with it.

Even negative advertising is still advertising — it is always of some value to the product being advertised — and gives it some kind of power in the form of public awareness. The proof can be, for example, the ISTQB. As a new tester few years ago, I wanted to get certified (I didn’t) because everybody was talking about it. It was not in a good light, but I still thought it would help me land a good job. There weren’t any other options, so what should a new tester do in this case?

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Incorporating User Feedback in Development Leads to Better Software Releases

Note: The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Sanjay Zalavadia.voice_of_user2

By considering the performance of in-development software from the perspective of the end user, QA teams can better address disruptive issues.

Software testing can often be an arduous and stressful process. Even in traditional waterfall production methods, quality assurance teams are typically faced with a months-long period colloquially known as the “death march” as developments near release. During these moments, QA management and teams hunker down and toil away, attempting to address as many remaining coding flaws as possible before the software goes into production. The proliferation of agile development principles has only escalated this trend as QA members are constantly working to identify areas of improvement during the entire course of development.

It’s understandable if QA objectives become a little shortsighted under these conditions and testers place all of their focus on finding bugs and coding errors. However, testing managers need to remain cognizant of the ultimate goal of any successful development process: optimizing the end user experience.

QA performance cannot be measured by the number of bug reports generated, but by the satisfaction of software users following a product’s release. To that end, it is advantageous to consider the viewpoint of the consumer and incorporate user feedback into the development process.

Usability critical to software performance

In a truly agile software development project, user feedback is a critical component of the production cycle, helping to guide tester and developer efforts to improve the performance of the application.

By considering how individuals engage with a piece of software and what problems may commonly occur or will be most disruptive to the user experience, developers and QA teams can better focus on addressing those issues. That fact is that despite the best efforts of software testers, coding flaws are essentially an inevitability. No software is 100 percent perfectly written, but the most successful programs are often those that perform at an optimal level with a bare minimum of usability issues.

In a Software Testing Help post, quality assurance expert Santhosh Kumar Ponnusamy outlined several of the traits characterizing a successful tester. In particular, he highlighted the openness to consider the end user viewpoint and the staunch commitment to improving consumer satisfaction.

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ISO 29119: Why it is Dangerous to the Software Testing Community

stop-29119Two weeks ago, I gave a talk at CAST 2014 (the conference of the Association for Software Testing) in New York, titled “Standards: Promoting quality or restricting competition?”

It was mainly about the new ISO 29119 software testing standard (according to ISO, “an internationally agreed set of standards for software testing that can be used within any software development life cycle or organization”), though I also wove in arguments about ISTQB certification.

My argument was based on an economic analysis of how ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) has gone about developing and promoting the standard. ISO’s behavior is consistent with the economic concept of rent seeking. This is where factions use power and influence to acquire wealth by taking it from others — rigging the market — rather than by creating new wealth.

I argued that ISO has not achieved consensus, or has even attempted to gain consensus, from the whole testing profession. Those who disagree with the need for ISO 29119 and its underlying approach have been ignored. The opponents have been defined as irrelevant.

If ISO 29119 were expanding the market, and if it merely provided another alternative — a fresh option for testers, their employers and the buyers of testing services — then there could be little objection to it. However, it is being pushed as the responsible, professional way to test — it is an ISO standard, and therefore, by implication, the only responsible and professional way.

What is Wrong With ISO 29119?

Well, it embodies a dated, flawed and discredited approach to testing. It requires a commitment to heavy, advanced documentation. In practice, this documentation effort is largely wasted and serves as a distraction from useful preparation for testing.

Such an approach blithely ignores developments in both testing and management thinking over the last couple of decades. ISO 29119 attempts to update a mid-20th century worldview by smothering it in a veneer of 21st century terminology. It pays lip service to iteration, context and Agile, but the beast beneath is unchanged.

The danger is that buyers and lawyers will insist on compliance as a contractual requirement. Companies that would otherwise have ignored the standard will feel compelled to comply in order to win business. If the contract requires compliance, then the whole development process could be shaped by a damaging testing standard. ISO 29119 could affect anyone involved in software development, and not just testers.

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