Practice Makes Progress
In my previous blog post, I pointed out that skills in testing matter. These skills are a bit like muscle memory; they can be learned by practice and attention to detail.
Now we come into the rub -- that you can’t practice test skills the way you can, say, hitting a ball or dunking a basket. Once you’ve tested the system once and know where the bugs are, a re-test exercise is trivial.
Or is it?
What we can do is look at the software from different perspectives:
- Browser Compatibility
- A specific function, scenario, or use case
This means we can look at the same software many times from different angles. In some cases, we can turn around and look at different software from that same angle.
It’s not quite putting the puck in the same place every time and making the same shot, over and over again, but it’s close.
The Second Problem
If you try this, the next problem you’ll have is the lack of examples. There just aren’t many of these in testing the way they exist in development.
My hope, in 2014, is to provide new examples worth referencing, right here on my Stickyminds blog.
Here’s one for today:
Many people are familiar with ParkCalc, the Gerald R Ford Parking simulator. It’s a great example of quick attack bugs; there are plenty and they are easy to find. At one conference, a "big name" in testing told me that ParkCalc was a bad example because it was "garbage in/garbage out" and “those bugs don’t matter if the system in general is useful."
Except, of course, he had no idea if the system was useful. Or at least, if he did, he didn’t do a very thorough job, because ParkCalc does have bugs even if you put in reasonable input.
Today’s challenge is to look at the real requirements, which you can find at the bottom of this page - then try to test for short-term parking fitness for use. You can limit your tests to one browser that does not have browser compatibility issues - you are looking for errors in the business logic.
Now let’s say that testing is expensive; you only get to run enter five values and click ‘calculate’ five times. Which values would you use? Why? Once you run them, what bugs do you find and what do you know about the software?
You can leave your comments here, or blog them and leave a link. I hope you see how this kind of exercise can be repeated, help develop skills. Also how sharing our experiences can help others develop skills - and also, maybe, just maybe, might be a little fun.
Once you’ve done that, here’s a question: What skill(s) does this exercise help develop?
More to come.