Friday, April 28, 2006

Software testing FAQ - No. 13

Is it possible that in the pursuit of the Software Testing Dream you could end up achieving a software testing nightmare?

That question comes from Kenny Lay. I'm not sure what the Software Testing Dream is that you are referring to there, Kenny Boy. Given the capitalisation and the use of the definitive article, perhaps it is a play , like Midsummer Night's Dream, or a book, like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. In which case, I do not know this testing work of art. However, I think it more likely that it is a concept of a software testing regime that consumes little elapsed time, is low in cost and substantially reduces the risks of failure.

This needn't be a dream though. There are many examples of projects that have embodied this concept. There are also many examples where this software testing dream goes unrealised because of:

1. Project managers who say they want to reap the benefits of this approach to software testing but their actions belie this intention. "It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only for them to find, as the first balls are being bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain".

2. Test managers who undermine these goals by their pedantic approach to test strategy and test execution. "This performance testing method worked perfectly on my last project so it will work here, despite the multitude of differences between the projects (which I will choose to deem irrelevant)".

Both these obstacles can make a software testing nightmare highly probable, despite the professed intention.

So the answer is yes.

But I would add that the pursuer has a great part to play in this software testing migration from dream to nightmare and far from being an unwitting victim is often the real culprit.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Test Driven Development

There are a couple of interesting articles on Test Driven Development at Informit. They are and

To get a flavour the intro to Part one is:

"If you’re a professional software tester, or you work in quality assurance, I consider you to be (like me) a "conventional software tester." Conventional software testers are often asked for opinions and expertise on a myriad of testing-related questions. One new area of thought in software development is test-driven development (TDD). Because it contains the word test, TDD is a topic on which conventional software testers are increasingly asked to weigh in. But since TDD is a programmer-testing activity, conventional software testers often find that they’re inadequately prepared to deal with TDD.

As a curious software tester, I wanted to learn more about test-driven development first-hand. I began learning about TDD through my typical process of inquiry:

1. Read literature about the subject to gain an overall understanding.
2. Explore by working closely with practitioners to gain more comprehension.
3. Immerse myself in the subject by learning from an expert and through practicing on my own.
4. Spend time reflecting on my experiences.

This series of articles describes some highlights from this process. In this article, I share my experience learning test-driven development from an expert programmer. In part 2, I share my experience, applying what I learned by practicing test-driven development myself. In part 3, I share some of my reflective thoughts on what I learned."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Software testing training is useless

Take a look at this blog which puts a case forward that training is useless:

"For a lot of my professional life, I got paid to do training. It usually went very well in the sense that I got high ratings (evaluations) and people not only paid their bills, but invited me back again to do it again and again.

I now believe that the overwhelming majority of all business training, by me and by everyone else, is a complete waste of money and time, because only a microscopic fraction of any training is ever actually put into practice and yield the hoped-for benefits."

Interesting point of view, but the gem is in the comments, one of which puts a strong arguement that testing is in a deep rut and "theoretical development in the field has stagnated at about the level that can be achieved by an individual working in an applied position in a company can achieve over a few years of thoughtful work. We got that far by 1983."

"To break out of the rut, we need to think in new ways, to use the technology in new ways. For that, we need advances in theory and practice that go beyond what testers can easily learn and reinvent on their own (or with a few friends) on the job."

But it isn't just a moan: it looks positively at training in software testing so that it need not be useless.

Take a look at the blog; well worth the time spent reading it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nokia blames software testing for hardware delays

Interesting story from Zdnet.

Strange but when I read it, I think they are not blaming software testing for hardware delays. In fact, they are probably thanking software testing for finding software problems which were so critical they needed to be fixed before the handsets could be shipped. Anyway, make up your own mind. Here's the full story:

Issues with the software on the Finnish firm's latest devices meant initial deadlines were missed, but the phones are almost here. Handset maker Nokia said on Monday that six of its new smart phones missed their planned first-quarter shipping deadlines due to software problems with the devices.
The company said the models — three of its multimedia N-series handsets and three E-series phones aimed at business users — would start shipping to customers in the near future.
The company's premium music phone, the N91, will start shipping this week, Nokia Multimedia division spokesman Kari Tuutti said, adding that the N71 and N80 phones will start deliveries in the next two weeks or so.
Nokia had originally planned to have the N91 in the shops in time for last year's Christmas-shopping season. But last September, the company said it was delaying shipments until the first quarter of 2006 while it worked on some software problems.
The phone has a 4GB hard drive.
"Because the devices are pocketable computers, we need to make sure of the software," Tuutti said.
Pekka Isosomppi, spokesman for Nokia's Enterprise division, said the company missed its late March target to start shipping its E60, E61 and E71 models. It was testing their software and expected to start shipments within the next few weeks.
The phones are part of the Finnish company's plan to win more of the corporate market, which is dominated by Research In Motion's BlackBerry.
"The basic issue is really about the interoperability of various enterprise applications...(such as) email device management and so on," Isosomppi said. "They all need to be cross-tested against one another."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Software testing puzzles from Google - top ten

These are the top ten links found by entering software testing puzzles into The Google UK Search engine:

1. Column info : Five Ways to Think about Black Box Testing
Comment: Bret Pettichord's puzzles are too good. keep publishing. regards, Rosey Baruah software Tester

2. Exploratory Testing Explained
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Exploratory software testing is a powerful approach, yet widely misunderstood. ... This is a general lesson about puzzles: the puzzle changes the puzzling

3. Out of Hours for when you’re not working
Online interactive puzzle; 3 minute test: How confident are you in the facts you ... of software testing books and consultancy books for general information

4. Two Brothers Software products available to download from
AV Eagle Firewall and Virus Scanner Testing Software, test your ... Fifgure Fiften Puzzle Game, remove buttons ito show the hidden picture underneath.

5. puzzle game software
puzzle game software Software puzzle game software Freeware puzzle game software ... puzzles · software testing · software inventory · game copy pro

6. Free flash games
For example you can order the puzzle like Jig Saw with your picture. ... Software catalog of flash games. Design flash games and movies.

7. Two Brothers Software: Pocket Pyrism, Six Pence, T3 Tic Tac Toe, ...
A Grid Based Puzzle Game. T3 Tic Tac Toe play against computer. ... AV Eagle Firewall and Virus Scanner Testing Software, test your firewalls security level

8. Do you need your puzzle or maths software testing?
I am now offering on a very limited basis to test puzzle-related software if it is of interest to me. I give me absolute assurance that nothing will be

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
consumer software testing because testing is testing is testing and who then ... probably do better than strong testers who have never seen the puzzle

10. Puzzle Power (Part 1) - Crosswords/Puzzles - 11/29/99
Centron Software emphasizes the educational aspect of these word puzzles and teachers should find them a handy tool for improving vocabulary or testing