Sunday, November 23, 2008

Make a difference. Feel the Difference.

As usual at the day end, began to keep my steps towards home. Got into the BMTC bus and I was happy that, I got a place to travel by standing. As terminals arrived, passengers came in and went out of the bus. In this coming in and going out, I got a place to stand beside a window of the bus. Looking outside the window of traveling bus, an advertisement board caught my attention and that was an evident, to which I was talking to one of my tester friend on that evening over the phone.

Yet again, I saw the same advertising in the other place on the other day. I got down from the bus that rainy night and headed to the place where the advertisement board was displayed. It was so close to my testing practices, that we (3 testers in our team) did at my work place that bought a huge differences.

A salute to those traffic police staff who serves the society by standing in the hot days, during rainy hours and in breezing chill & cold winds for maintaining the calm traffic. Testing Garage thanks the Bengaluru City Traffic Police department for putting up such thought provoking advertisement.

The advertisement board displayed a mission with the help of ants. As we all know ants follow a disciplined line, thought not very linear, but still they move ahead in disciplined steps after accomplishing their task(s), for reaching their sweet little nests or to the destination they are marching at.

I am not a expert tester or experienced tester since still I am learning to do *mistakes. But I am a young budding confident learning tester who is practicing testing by learning from the mistakes I do every moment and from other testers' testing experiences. I was into a testing project, for testing the giant secure product, which was a huge one with several modules. That product thought me how to test anything given, at anytime, at any place. I assure that product is safe to use, but it is **not free from bugs.

* Mistakes that I do, are teaching lessons for me; but sure I will not be satisfied enough forever, with the mistakes I do.
** It is not that I am saying the product is not good enough to use since it has bugs in it; instead I am saying it is a very safe and efficient product with the known bugs & unknown bugs (if explored much more, it shows much more interesting bugs which are residing in it). Testing shows bugs/defects/need of quality (respect to the user of the product) always!

And, that was my first test project. The very first bug report, I submitted in my testing career was a Duplicate. I started to test and report after 10 days when I got my first job. Testing procedures were new to me, since I did not know what for those manually scripted test procedures were. I had bunches (700+ sheets) of manually scripted test procedures (1500+) which was supposed to be executed, and document the results. As I kept executing those manually scripted test procedures, the product did not show the behavior that were against, for those manually scripted test procedures expected result. The product had become immune enough to those tests of manual scripted procedures.

I went back to my lead (She was my first test lead, who always gave a smile when any one goes to her cubicle with the extended testing help) for whom I was reporting to.

Lead: (with smile on her face) Good Morning! How is your testing going on?
Me: Good Morning! I am not finding any of those scripted procedure to be working.
Lead: (with surprise) Are those manually scripted test procedures are not meeting the expected results? (she wanted to know what I was telling her i.e., whether the against behavior are observed or as per the expected result.).
Me: No, .....those are meeting the expected results and I am unable to mark them as Fail.
Lead: Don't just stick on to those manually scripted test procedures only. Think and test apart from what those manually scripted procedure papers tell.

That was the word, which took me to new world of testing i.e., Exploratory Testing. I came to know a year back that I was practicing an exploratory testing with context driven testing approach. Though exploratory testing is as old as me today (which was coined by Cem Kaner around 1982 as per my knowledge), I came to know it when I was 25 years old.

This exploratory testing introduced many more test cases into the testware of my test project which made the expected results column to fill with 'FAIL'; but, many context/scenario were not documented at all since the time factor was crucial and I agree it was my fault too for not documenting them. They all reside in the database of bug tracker as a convincing bug reports for which the user of a product needs fixes and quite huge number of bugs have rested in peace with the fixes.

This approach made me to concentrate on doing exploratory testing all most, most of the time and giving a bit ample of time to execute the manually written test procedures. As time kept walking, I got an opportunity to work with one more test lead. She taught me what the Priority means, in a testing project. She sat beside me several days discussing (teaching) the testing ideas, the process what the test team needs to follow for amending the convincing Test Report formally at end of the product release. With her guidance I started to learn how to prioritize stuffs and this bought me an idea of a MISSION in a test project. Still learning day by day in prioritizing the activities.

She said, "Prioritize your tasks first before doing the stuffs". I started to prioritize for keeping up the Testing Mission of the test project, wherever I do my testing practice; then I planned my testing activities with priorities. Meanwhile during the end of each day and on reaching the plotted milestones, I keep evaluating always progress of testing activity being done in due course with a Testing Mission in mind.

There after, I kept practicing my testing with exploratory testing by context driven approach along with executing the manual test procedures and automating a bit. And, the test team of us too followed this approach. We had a huge difference which was very positive, that unrevealed the most of the hidden bugs, disguised bugs, potential features needed by customers in all the areas of the product. It was like a "Made a difference and felt the differences".

I thank the two ladies who gave me an opportunity to know the differences I should do for pulling up myself to accomplish the mission of testing with prioritization.


  • Before starting up the stuffs, know the MISSION of the work.
  • Keep evaluating the stuffs or tasks or testing you do, with the mission that as to be accomplished, so that you will not miss anything to repent later for it.
  • Take corrective actions, if unable to reach the mission that as been framed.
  • Testing is showing the differences in behavior of the being tested application by finding the bugs. To feel the difference, we have to do task differently with mission in mind.
  • Reviewing our mission always tells very clearly, what we have to do.
  • Write a mission on paper and paste that in front of your seat, so that you are always reminded about your mission.
  • It is not we testers or developers execute the project; it is our customer(s), who execute our project. We testers or developers make ourselves to execute towards mission successfully by doing differences. And, the customer will execute our mission's perfect, by feeling the differences.
  • No guarantee that, what works for one person to accomplishment her/his mission, will also work for other person to accomplish her/his mission. Think over that.....

To conclude, the above traffic advertisement tells, "Stick to your lane while driving" and Testing Garage tells, "Stick to your testing mission while testing". And thereby, make a difference; feel the Difference.

If you have identified your mission, or evaluated your mission, or taken corrective actions for reaching your mission or you remembered the mission that you have forgot, by reading the above written, then mission of this writing from Testing Garage is fulfilled.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Don't Know!

Lessons comes from the consistent practice we do, from the mistakes we commit, by looking at the mistakes of our peers & other people, by interacting, by inferences we make, by reference we look for, by conferences we go for and etc. Being myself a tester by my soul and not just for a profession, getting plenty of lessons every day from the sources (more correctly they are resources that makes me to think and question myself) that I look at.

I always have a determination and focused mindset to take up testing tasks that makes my mind to generate questions continuously by thinking. When I met testers, most said, domain knowledge is very important to test. But, I had my tester who is within me, saying, "Concentrate and practice on the skills and practice with focused mindset to test anything given at any time by questioning; never hesitate to question".

As like all other interview procedure, one day I got a call from HR, asking when you are free in this week for taking up an interview for testing position. I asked her, when interview panel is available at your place for the interview. She said today at 3 PM and me too agreed.

I never tested any electronic product except my mobile phone, my monitor, my friend's CPU, my friend's laptop, my digital watch, the elevator at my workplace and my friend's digital camera. When I asked the HR regarding the company address, she gave the address and description of the company.

I was happy that, the interview was for the Telecommunication domain. But still, I said HR as I am not a graduate of Electronics or Telecommunication and does it meet the position requirement. But, I can test those products and system of electronics and telecommunications. After couple of minutes she confirmed and said, we will be happy to see you today at 3 PM for the interview.

The interview panel consisted two members. They introduced themselves, where one was the Director of Quality Assurance for the company and the other person was Test Manager. They started conversations saying, "we are not young in age as you, but we are young as you in the spirit". I was very glad, to see them and the conversations showed the tester within them. The room had four chairs; myself and two interviewers were seated and one chair remained with no person to sit.

Interviewer A: Can you sit on that chair?
Me: Can I know, why should I sit on that chair? Why not here?
Interviewer B: So that we all here can have comfort talk.
Interviewer A: Is it possible for you sit on that chair?
Me: I don't know!
Interviewer B: What you don't know? It so good chair then you are seated now. Why can't you sit on that chair?
Me: I does not know whether I can fit on that chair or can make use of that chair to my purpose.
Interviewer A: You are thin enough to be seated on that chair. Then, what is stopping you?
Me: Without sitting and confirming that I can make use of that chair, I cannot tell you, that chair is usable by me.
Interviewer B: What is making you to think that, the chair might be not usable by you without sitting or more rightly without TESTING it.
Me: Might be the chair may not withstand my 57 KG weight, or it might be not to my comfort on which I am seated on now, or it might be too heavy for lifting it to here since I am comfort in this place to be seated, or it might be time consuming to move chair over here if it has no wheels and weighs bit more than the chair on which I am seated, or it might be wet, or it might have lot of dust upon it, or it might have pests that feeds on my blood, or it might be for my other good friends i.e., people who are challenged physically, or it might be chair that is used to make BAKRA. This are the few reasons to say, "I don't know," for I can sit on that chair or not.

Interviewer B: I liked that BAKRA!
Interviewer A: Then, how did you sit on the chair you are seated now, without testing it.
Me: Well, I tested the chair while we all were standing thirty minutes back.

Like this our conversation went on. One more question that we get in most of the interviews is , "explain me your project". Where I did not tell what my project details at all in the interviews I had been so far. But, these two people did not even ask this question i.e., 'explain your project'. Instead they asked, "what is the role of yours in the testing you do with your team?". They strongly adhered not to disturb the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) policy, which each company will have. Neither my little resume will not have and did not had such details of project.

I kept writing all my observations from, what they gave me to test. I explained them why was that observations and justified them. I was enjoying the interview and it was different from the other interviews I had been for.

Interviewers never bought up Telecommunications or Electronics during interview. I was curious to know, what I will be doing in that company. And, was happy to know that I will be testing one of their product that is used at real time by people.

After testing, and brainstorming tasks, they came to the package negotiation. By now, my testing mind started to get confused. I am not good at that negotiation task still. Totally, I was in the other thoughts of negotiation and they too were talking regarding it.

Interviewer A: Does this pen write?
Me: Yes.
Interviewer B: What?
Interviewer A: Are you fine? How did you infer that pen write, when it is in my hand?
Interviewer B: Thought it is your pen, what he has in his hand now; it might not have written when you have used it again.
Me: I felt like, Tester within me slapped my face and said where are you lost? Wake up from negotiation thoughts.
Interviewer A: I expected "I Don't Know!".
Interviewer B: Never forget your word what you said today i.e. "I Don't Know!". I love that word.
Interviewer A: The tester within you was engaged in working out negotiation, and that made to take off the questioning mind of yours. Being a tester, we too practice that still i.e., to have our mind always in testing perspective at all time. We too do not forget your words "I Don't Know!".
Interviewer B: What is your joining date?
Me: I Don't Know!
Interviewer A: He has caught it, isn't it Interviewer B.
Interviewer B: Yes! What is your probable date to join our test team? We would love to see you with us.
Me: I will intimate tomorrow.

I did not accept the offer due to some of my emotions, but the lessons what they gave me during the interview was different from the other interview I had been for. Those lessons were truly worth one and I have to remember them forever. That's what made their product so well established in the competitive market.

I believe they are reading this now or might have read this little writing by now. I remember this two testing minds, before I start my thinking and questioning with a word "I Don't Know!" and What it is, why it is so and if not, why so?.


  • More than any domain knowledge in testing, the testing skills are more important to a tester. Focus on them. We will learn any domain testing and can test any domain, when we have proper testing skills to test anything at anytime by questioning the product or system under test.
  • Do not say blindly, it works or looks fine for a person without making use of it i.e., more rightly without testing it. It might fit & work for other user in her/his context but not in our context.
  • Do not just accept anything without questioning; if accepted without questioning, we are carrying the fire in our hands without any fire exits; that fire can catch and spread with severe things to pay off.
  • Interviews are great source of learning. Keep attending them as it helps ourselves to know where we are and where we have to pull our socks. Learning is not just in TESTING we do, but it comes in different aspects apart from testing, which go beyond the values that one can give.
  • If interviews are of telling your ongoing and previous project details, never do that. You have signed NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) for your employer and we will be violating the company policies if we tell our ongoing project details. Do not mention on the resume too. Being ourselves the testers, if we do not test our resume and presentation of ourselves in the interviews, will be of no worth.
  • Before starting up testing our product or System Under Test, say I Don't Know what it does and should mean it to ourselves.

To conclude, whether the above written is useful to you? I Don't Know!

Love Testing!