Ainars Galvans's blog

Farewell testingreflections!

Yes, the decision to move my blog to a new location is made. That was not an easy decision because testing reflections has become my blogging motto. Thank you Antony for everything.
There are different reasons for the decision. One of the reasons is that I feel I don’t belong here, not any more or perhaps never had. I feel like testingreflections lives primary under the agile banner. I’ve been inspired a lot by agile ideas, but I never adopted them. I reclaim my personal method .

Let them feel in charge! Tips for test process improvement

Did you ever felt like this “Why managers and developers want to teach me how to test?! I’m the tester. I know how to test!”. Ever wanted to teach the cook how to cook to satisfy your taste?
The trick I’ve learned is to let stakeholders influence what I test but decide how to test it myself. However this is not so simple: to let them influence I must make testing process crystal-clear for them. And it means different things in different contexts (and you know - context changes in time).

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Why do WE do software testing?

The background of this blog is so complex that I don’t want to waste my time explaining and yours reading it. Anyway, I wanted to organize my meta-thinking about testing that I do in my current project.
So what follow is a context-specific; subjective(my personal experience based) list of types of value we tester provide to project while testing code (I choose to limit my thinking to so called dynamic testing and do not include such tasks as review):

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What brings controversy: incomprehensible computer or people incomprehension?

Do you know the history of four color theorem. It was the first major math theorem to be proven with extensive computer assistance. Which caused a lot of controversy ... (among mathematicians).

I somehow recalled this fact when reading Matthew considering history of published testing ideas . I believe he choose to ignore events (such as Year 2000 problem, trend of cutting IT department costs a few years later, etc.) to concentrate on inventions (methodologies and tools). I support Matthew in his work, but I’m afraid I can’t contribute as I made my career ignoring most of the publications. I think I made my career for historical reason: I chose to excel as a tester and worked hard while others struggled to find path to development career (at that time tester was seen as second-class citizen at least in my company and I proved this to be wrong). It would not be enough today, I'm afraid.

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Supportive and Directive test documentation.

So there was (unfortunately) the exploratory testing good scripted testing bad conversation which I don’t want to continue. But I learned a few more reasons for scripted testing during the conversation: lack of tester’s commitment or competence. I’ll explore them in this blog and provide link to a space where I’ve stored some test case and other test documentation samples. I think rather than talking what is good and what is wrong we need to share examples.

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Why do we keep writing (manual) Test Cases upfront?

There are at least 2 ways how developers could write unit tests: before code (TDD) or after code is ready. The same applies to writing manual test cases and test scripts (given that we decided to write them at all). There are many benefits of writing up-front: you could review, better plan (schedule) and control, test faster once code is ready, etc. The draw-back is only one - you spend more effort (budget)… (well there are actually more but let’s forget about them now). But do you know how much more? 4 times…?

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Communication skills: what are they?

We were recently discussing how essential communication skills are for a tester. We all agree that they are valuable, but are they number 1? More valuable than bug reporting, problem solving, etc? Well, I’m afraid we can’t draw a line between them. Not only are they interrelated; testers with coping skills overcome a lack of one skill using others instead.

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Make test objectives desirable for tester

I’m a manager who is still testing. I can afford to do what like to. This makes me very productive at what I do. When setting objectives for a testing task I take into account following:

  • What must be done (the value of the task)
  • What I think I can do well
  • What else could I learn to do (better)
  • And I try to hire testers who are like me. And I try to treat them as myself – I take the same 3 things into account when set objectives for them. Well, I try to.

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