Friday, 23 October 2009

Test Enviroments

Why is it that when people think about testing something the last thing on the list is the test enviroment is the last thing they think about? The past week has seen a lot of down time because of the enviroment we are trying to run our tests is creaking. We would have been more or less done and dusted if it were not for the enviroment giving up the ghost. So next time you are planning for testing make sure you stipulate that the enviroment is mature and stable. If not no testing will be done, you will halt. The reality is you sit around for 3 hours trying to force and will your tests to make its to end, hoping that all those nasty errors that are being thrown are just down to the enviroment and not the code.

Ah well long week, the beer is good tonight.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Make sure you get Invited to the right meetings..

A fellow TA today got most of his work that he done had been "descoped". I was not privvy to the reasons but seemingly there was meeting some months ago that agreed that our team would not really need to test that particular part of the release. My fellow TA told me the conversation went thus

Biz Person " We had a while back, and we discussed this might be covered by the other team..why were'nt you invited to it??"

TA "Um....!"

Monday, 12 October 2009

Over proccessssssed

You got have processes in testing; it’s the basic law in our world. If we did not have processes and procedures you would have testers running around doing all sorts of things that makes their mundane job exciting. I am not saying it would be anarchy but it would be nightmare to manage. When I am testing I like to know that you call all tests by this, you raised a defect like this and assign to Developer dude A if it’s functional and Business Dude B if it’s a business rule. You save evidence over there with this name. All your scripts must go through a review process with one of your peers and must have review log if they don’t have one it’s not getting run...bla de bla I could go on and on, but its late and my book is calling me.

Have anyone of you been on project where things have become over processed? Are you using a test management tool like Test Director/Quality Center (hence forth know as TD or QC) and for some reason your Test Lead or Test Manager also has you filling out a spreadsheet with exactly the same data you are pumping into TD? I have been on a couple of projects where this has sadly been the case, people fail to realise how much this slows the poor tester down. Now I am very aware that TD and QC have their problems, the report tool is pretty limited and some still resort to using excel to put together reports but should be testers filling three or four spreadsheets if they change something here, they have to change it over there, and oh that one there too. We all know what happens don’t we? Things get out sync, people update the one over there, and not the one here and before have the Test Lead making you walk through each everyone to make sure it ties up. After two hours of going through each line by line the tester goes a funny blue color and explodes.
There some out there, and lets call them process monkeys, who have no idea the pain and time it causes the poor testers, above all less tests are run because of all the things they need to do get their job done. Think about your processes, are they good? Do they all need to be done? Is their duplication of effort? Are you using TD and QC to their fullest by using customized fields ( you will not believe how many projects I have been on where no one has even attempted to sit down and do this.) I might be a bit cynical but the impression I get that some of the process monkeys actually enjoy the fact that they hordes of tester filling out spreadsheets that take on life of themselves, some get so big and wieldy that rips in the space time continuum have to be done just to store them. Above all they like the fact they have these duplicate processes because it keeps them in job...

Okay I am being cynical, but on the serious side we all need to think about this when start a project, if you think that you are duplicating something sit down and work out how long it takes you to do and then multiply it out across your project. I bet it will be an eye watering amount of time spent, when you could be doing something far better and productive to the project. When your project is finished put your observations into the lesson learned (usually the only spreadsheet that no one updates or reads)but make sure you are polite and reasoned, process monkeys get very touchy if you threaten to take their toys away. I’ m off to read my book now.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Test Dude..feels...

A bit like he is being made to climb up the side of mountain cliff dressed only in his underpants and a very thin rope, while the project waves a loaded gun at his head.

Weekend beer tastes wonderfull tonight.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Testing Culture

Where to start? I have been in the software testing industry for nearly 11 years now, worked in some fantastic teams, and some not so good. Worked on some interesting projects that were a joy to be involved with and have worked on others that were akin to the eighth circle of hell.

When I thought about doing this I was not sure what to write about. After taking a swing about some other testing type blogs I quickly came to the conclusion there seem to be a lot more erudite and knowledgeable people out there than I am. From the ones that I read, they were all technically brilliant, with lovingly and concisely written prose about the subject of testing. It left me thinking I could never compete with these people; I may as well give up and write about cheese and pickle sandwiches.

I then went back and took another look to see what was missing from them, and its one subject that I think is overlooked in the testing world and that’s us. How do we deal with certain situations, like a 6 foot three developer who has not slept for three days standing over you yelling at you stop raising defects. Why do project managers seem to think that testing is something that is done quickly and if things are going badly it’s the test team that have the time robbed from them. You know “Oh you really don’t need to do all that” and the test manager gets the “descope” red pen out. Weeks later the same people are the TM’s desk jumping up down about a production bug flapping about “why didn’t you find it”.

There is then the relationship we have with the business and our role in the project. When do we start talking to the business? Should we wait till everything is done and dusted before we start our analysis? When does the test team simply say “You are having a laugh we ‘aint testing any more!”? One TA told me about the experience of going on to project and asking if they could talk to someone in the business about the possibility of reading some documents. You know to get a feel of what the applications were like, stuff like that. Once the rest of the room had recovered from their fits of laughter the TA was told that they were actively discouraged from talking anyone in the business. I want to write about fun stuff too, what the best music to test to? Things like that...

I guess I want to write about the “Culture of Testing” in the real world, I might leave the more academic musings to those who are good at it. I don’t want to have the sort of ISEB vrs ISTQB or this matrix is wayyyy better than this matrix debates. Which leads me into the one area that I have been thinking about for a while now; can the testing process be over processed? Thought I would toss that out.

So there you go not all what I wanted to say on the first post but you have to start somewhere. Blogging will be light as I am in the middle of one of those eighth circle of hell projects that I mentioned above, just as well the team I am in one of the great ones!

If you have surfed in on to this blog and you are tester and got the skinny on anything you want me to relate to the wider world the drop me a line at I will of course change names and places and add a lots of swear words.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Testing Times

I shall be writing about testing stuff here. When I get my act together that is!