Skip to main content

Why so negative?

Have you ever had trouble explaining to a non-tester why you appear to be intent on breaking their software? It can be difficult to explain why it's important. So I thought a video might help...



If you want to read more about the scientific method, check out the hunky-dory hypothesis.

Comments

  1. It's an excellent point and a wonderful way of showing it, Pete. A few refinements:

    1) We don't break software; the software was broken when we got it.

    2) We don't create tests designed to cause failure; we create tests designed to expose the failures that are lurking.

    3) The illusion that the software wasn't broken and the illusion that we're creating failure are among the most important illusions we testers need to dispel.

    I'm delighted at the steady stream of excellent posts, and especially chuffed that it started to flow just after the Rapid Software Testing course in London. That was a rare group!

    ---Michael B.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Michael, Thank you for your support - and yes the RST course definitely helped motivate me! I recommend the course to testers, programmers and project managers!

    I agree with your main point - that the software is essentially broken before it reaches the tester. The tester finds out that these problems are present in the system, and reports them.

    1) In the blurb when I refer to breaking the software, I'm describing how the process appears to others. i.e.: "to a non-tester why you appear to be intent on breaking their..."
    I tend not to use the phrase myself, except lightheartedly.

    2&3) I'm not so sure about these... for example: a judgement, coding or configuration mistake was made before the system is examined by the tester - But the system may not 'fail' until we perform certain actions. By fail I'm thinking: Displeases or confuses user, performs slowly, crashes or loses data etc.

    The incident on the Silver Bridge springs to mind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Bridge#Wreckage_analysis ) A contributing factor in the bridges 'failure' was a problem in the manufacture of a constituent part. Although this problem was in the system for many years, along with others such as a lack of redundancy, they did not 'fail' until December 15 1967.

    If we were testing such a system, might we not add higher than expected load in an attempt to 'cause a failure'?

    Though I can see that this engineering style language in a software setting is far from a perfect fit. Issues such as corrosion and decay don't apply. Though unplanned-for user load and change in usage do apply. I'm going to think about this...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why you might need testers

I remember teaching my son to ride his bike. No, Strike that, Helping him to learn to ride his bike. It’s that way round – if we are honest – he was changing his brain so it could adapt to the mechanism and behaviour of the bike. I was just holding the bike, pushing and showering him with praise and tips.
If he fell, I didn’t and couldn’t change the way he was riding the bike. I suggested things, rubbed his sore knee and pointed out that he had just cycled more in that last attempt – than he had ever managed before - Son this is working, you’re getting it.
I had help of course, Gravity being one. When he lost balance, it hurt. Not a lot, but enough for his brain to get the feedback it needed to rewire a few neurons. If the mistakes were subtler, advice might help – try going faster – that will make the bike less wobbly. The excitement of going faster and better helped rewire a few more neurons.
When we have this sort of immediate feedback we learn quicker, we improve our game. When the f…

Thank you for finding the bug I missed.

Thank you to the colleague/customer/product owner, who found the bug I missed. That oversight, was (at least in part) my mistake. I've been thinking about what happened and what that means to me and my team.

I'm happy you told me about the issue you found, because you...

1) Opened my eyes to a situation I'd never have thought to investigate.

2) Gave me another item for my checklist of things to check in future.

3) Made me remember, that we are never done testing.

4) Are never sure if the application 'works' well enough.

5) Reminded me to explore more and build less.

6) To request that we may wish to assign more time to finding these issues.

7) Let me experience the hindsight bias, so that the edge-case now seems obvious!

Being a square keeps you from going around in circles.

After a weary few hours sorting through, re-running and manually double checking the "automated test" results, the team decide they need to "run the tests again!", that's a problem to the team. Why? because they are too slow. The 'test' runs take too long and they won't have the results until tomorrow.
How does our team intend to fix the problem? ... make the tests run faster. Maybe use a new framework, get better hardware or some other cool trick. The team get busy, update the test tools and soon find them selves in a similar position. Now of course they need to rewrite them in language X or using a new [A-Z]+DD methodology. I can't believe you are still using technology Z , Luddites!
Updating your tooling, and using a methodology appropriate to your context makes sense and should be factored into your workflow and estimates. But the above approach to solving the problem, starts with the wrong problem. As such, its not likely to find the right ans…