Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday's Musings - Heads up you guys: sending bugs your way

As a tester, when we find bugs we are trained to log them. There are industry standards out there on how to write a good bug and what details need to be included. What we forget after we log a defect is: Now what?

What I always do is call or email my software engineers. No not to show off or blow my horns but to give them a "heads up". I always call them if its the right time (have a few offshore and wait till its a good time for them) and tell them this is what I found, this is what I was doing and this is what happened (especially if its high or critical issue).

Why do this?
  1. The heads up gives them a chance to react to it before the bug triage/defect review meeting. You are giving them an opportunity to research it and be ready when questions are asked in meetings. This way your team is already a step ahead in trying to answer the questions like "How critical is it?" or "How easy is it to fix it?" etc.
  2. When we give them a heads up immediately they may ask you to look for additional information and you will still have the system available to help them trouble shoot. If its days later and if you have had builds deployed or other test data changes you may not be able to help them replicate defects as easily as you would want to.
  3. You are being a team player. You are not catching them by surprise in review meetings and they will return the favor by sharing information and helping you to when needed.
  4. Gives an opportunity to learn. Several of these calls to my developers have lead to more questions and then into discussion sessions to trouble shoot. They ask for details and information and this has helped me take notes on things that they are looking for in bugs. I use these tips/notes to write better bugs. So the next time I call them I have answers to a few more questions that I had the first time I called them to report a bug.
  5. You are saving time. Instead of waiting till the defect or bug get to the review meeting and then being assigned for analysis and then wait till another meeting to decide if the bug has to be fixed or not you are giving opportunity to react in the first meeting itself with information from software engineers.
I am tagging this under Change Leader. Why? Because you can start small changes and lead the team to do better. I call these small changes as signs to build better teams and as a result better products for our customers: internal and external.

Do you have tips on saving time, building teams or help testing team, please share?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2 Things To Make Test Leading Job Easy

As test leads we have several responsibilities between testing, manging project, testing, test planning, etc. You can do these two things daily to make your life more manageable and easier.

Keep a Test Journal
Clean your data everyday 


Monday, November 22, 2010

My Take: Test Manager (TFS Visual Studio 2010)

I was at the Microsoft Event - The Full Testing Experience - Quality Assurance with Visual Studio 2010. I am pretty excited about this tool and the demo I saw. There are some cool features that I wouldn't mind using to test my application. The one thing that was preventing me from using this tool so long (even though I have access to it) was that the test manager piece didn't support silver light 4 and our application was on that technology.
The latest update for Test Manager now has this support. So yes I am looking forward to using this to test.

Some pieces that I am really excited about
  1. Manual test cases - video recording. Really if I can have a witness to all my testing I would not have to waste my time battling, answering, writing clearer notes, etc. I would have it all in my recordings.
  2. Fast forwarding - I can fast forward my test cases. Super cool.
  3. Lab Management - If I can get the same test environment that takes 6-8 weeks to build in hours, I would be testing so much more than fighting paper work to get the lab machines.
  4. Use manual test cases to create automated test cases - really that just makes my life a lot easier. Automation and manual testing wont be in two different tool/technology. They will be based of each other.
  5. Dashboard - Requirements, test cases, execution, defects - when everything is in the same system, my metrics would mean so much more real time. I wont have to massage my data to co relate the different elements together.
I will be playing with this tool for the next several months. I will add more information as I learn more. But this is one technology I am excited about.

For more information visit

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Take: Weekend Testing Americas - Session 1

I was part of the first Weekend Testing American Session on Saturday Nov 13, 2010 from 2 - 4 pm CST. Michael Larsen was the session coordinator and he helped moderate the session and also presented the objective and mission.

You can find more information @ WTA01 - Let's Dance

There were 21 people from all over the world including India, Canada, Israel, etc. It was nice to see so many people from different locations, different experience, different testing ideas come together to try to work on one goal - making Weekend Testing American a success.

Mission was to test StepMania 4 (open source clone version of Dance Dance revolution) with a partner. We had to choose a partner within the first few minutes and then test it for an hour. We regrouped after that to discuss what went well and what didn't.

I learnt couple of things
  1. Don't forget the mission. I jumped into trying to test the application. The goal was to work with your partner.
  2. Testing is learning - Michale Bolton brought up a good point of how learning really is part of testing and not separate.
  3. Rapid Reporter - A cool tool to take test notes especially during exploratory testing. Thanks to Shmuel Gershon I now have a tool that I can use everyday.
  4. Skype has a share option where you can share screen. Another great tool that I will be using a lot. I used to use MSN Messenger sharing but it has its glitches and live meeting takes time to setup and is one way.
  5. There are some good testers out there who love to share knowledge and are good mentors. I met a very enthusiastic group during this weekend testing session.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Take - TCQAA Meeting - Cloud Computing

Paul Selway from redpath talked about cloud computing last night at the TCQAA meeting. Very technical but informative presentation. He started with a high level picture of what cloud computing is and narrowed his focus to Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service). He used some good analogy to explain the concept of cloud computing. He compared the growth and evolution of cloud services similar to generating and distributing electricity.
He explained the cloud in real easy day to day terms. He asked us to stay away from cloud washing (like brain washing). He gave us good pointers on when to start thinking about the cloud and when to absolutely stay away from it.

I also had a good discussion with Barry Dietrich on how cloud will tie in well with lean and agile. We also talked about how we can take it back to our work plays to see how best to jump into the cloud.

Bonus for members who are still thinking about attending these meetings: There were several recruiters there looking for Test Leads and testers. Also there were couple of company representative's who were looking for people. The test market is opening and if you are looking for a job feel free to attend TCQAA meetings.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Strength Accelerator - The Greatest Value you bring to the team - Coming Soon

I recently took the Strength Accelerator Test - its part of the new tool that Marcus Buckingham and his team is working on. Marcus Buckingham is the creator of the original strength finders assessment and has created several since then including one for women The Strong Life Test for Women)

I have taken the strengths finder and strengths finder for leaders. Here are my results for the top 5 in each category
My Top 5 Strengths

My Top 5 Leader Strengths

I took the assessment and was curious to see what else can they tell me about me after already learning so much from the previous two tests. Guess what I learned a lot. The results talk about "Strength Zones". It gives you the top two strengths that you bring to your team. My top was creator and I was surprised and curious till I read the description - "You make sense of the world, pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it. 

The second strength zone was pioneer - You see the world as a friendly place where, around every corner, good things will happen. Your distinctive power starts with your optimism in the face of uncertainty. 

Together they make a lot of sense and I feel like it will help me channel my focus on using my strengths to do at work and home life. The results (20 pages long) has suggestions on how to use my strengths and how to get more value out of the two zones together. I will have to read the results several times and try to understand it all.
Over all a very good test and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to learn about their strengths and also to find out how to use the strengths in their everyday life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010