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.

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