Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fake Testers or Unskilled Testers?

Sajjadul Hakim’s recent post Masters of Illusion - Fake Testers (part 1) has mentioned some important attributes of a Tester or Test Manager and categorize those testers as ‘fake testers’ who don't have such attributes available. A wonderful post, I really enjoyed reading that post. In the follow up comment Monirul Islam asked couple of important questions, part of comments are “…..Is it something like that when a tester is identified as a fake tester she is completely valueless to her company? Should the company terminate her as soon as possible like we do in the case of fake money?”. His comments make me think about the fact and by this post i’m trying to answer his questions. Before reading further of this post you may interested to read original post and comments from here: Masters of Illusion - Fake Testers (part 1)

@Monirul, you have asked important questions where you indicated to all testers, not only test managers, and that should be because this is a generic problem in BD but not for the test managers only. Here I like to share my thoughts based on my own experiences and ofcourse considering BD context (may not same in other countries):
  • There are very few testers in BD with the mentioned attributes (especially demonstration skill) but it doesn't mean that we don't have enough skill testers or potential testers. In BD, there are many good and potential testers but their demonstration and communication skill is not good enough hence feel shy to demonstrate on publicly.
  • Reasons for the above are, many BD testers didn't get proper guideline/instruction from Seniors/Team Leads/Managers. Also BD testers got hardly any training on testing (corporate or public).
  • Considering the above, i'm not interested to call them as 'fake testers' rather i would like to call them as 'unskilled testers' or 'incomplete testers' or even 'uneducated testers' whereas many of them are potential enough.
So, my answer to the both questions is, NO. Those testers are not valueless to the company instead they can be valuable to the company and apparently they should not be terminated rather they need to be guided properly, trained up by expert (not only by his/her so called Test Manager cause there's very few Managers in BD who have such skill, also many Test Managers required such training and guidance by the expert). So, public workshops/trainings are very much demanded in BD context.
According to my understanding and practices (many of you may have some other ideas or practices), BD testers also need to do the following to increase knowledge and skill:
  • Do testing as much as possible even after becoming Team Leader or Manager.
  • Learn and think about testing & test ideas.
  • Join on uTest and participate on uTest test cycles as much as possible which will help to increase testing skill, communication skill, to build network with testers around the Globe and in addition you will earn money for your each approved bug and test cases. Don't forget to participate on uTest forum discussion to know more.
  • Follow famous testing blogs regularly and also read some previous posts of them as your interest (some famous testing blogs are listed in this blog)
  • Participate and/or read online discussion regularly on the several testing forums.

Dear readers, please share your experiences and practices which definitely will be helpful for BD testers.

Enjoy testing, enjoy learning!!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

How important to write test cases?

What i meant by test case?
First of all i should clear-up what mean to me as test cases. For me, test cases are list of test ideas by which test ideas can be listed as bullet order, row wise or any other format convenient to me for particular project or client. It also required to add tips or guideline for those test ideas which i think other can face difficulties to understand my test idea such as (but all are optional):
  • Required test data to execute the test if my test have required any specific data.
  • Environment related information if my test required to make any specific changes on the test environment.
  • Steps to execute the test if there have any complicated step to execute the test.
  • Also need to add tips for any special thing to follow while executing.
Be sure, here i'm not talking to add any straight-forward tips/guideline on test case for the testers, just want to add those thing which i feel un-usual to understand my test ideas.

Why required such test cases?

I know, many of the intelligent testers, test experts, consultants, will argue with me - why you required such test cases? Are you want to feed your testers? You should teach your testers - how to test, how to explore, how to use heuristics, how to use oracle, blah...blah...blah. Here i completely agree that i should teach my testers. And also i use those test cases to teach my testers, here might have another question....How?
Here i like to share my experience and context but others might have different context (i don't know). I have some well experienced intelligent testers, some are minimum experienced (less than 1~2 years) but promising, some are cub newbies and some are even fresher in my team. I never can expect i will get all the well experienced testers in my team (that will exceed my company budget!). So, what will happen when i assign to test a particular feature to an experienced/expert tester, suppose (s)he will generate 20 test ideas to test that feature. What if, i assign same feature to test to a cub newbies or even to a minimum experienced tester, will (s)he able to generate all the 20 test ideas which can generate by an expert tester? even-though, they are intelligent enough and i teach them how to test, how to explore.........often not possible because an experience tester learn/know more test ideas by his/her experience and those ideas may not be able to generate by an inexperienced testers, even though (s)he is promising and intelligent enough. So, finally what will happen if i assign to test a feature to cub newbies? (s)he can miss some important test to execute, by which some significant issues can be uncovered on that feature. Here test cases which contained listed test ideas will guide them for proper testing, help them to know several test ideas....and so on.

What more to do with test case?
Motivate testers to think beyond the test cases and to generate more test ideas while executing and list-out those test ideas by which it can be possible to know particular tester's thoughts, intelligence, exploring capabilities...and so on. Here another thing is related to my organization but may not in other organization, there are many clients want to see the test cases to ensure test coverages, which is valid and better than blindly trust to the test team and i think it somehow reduces some risk in some degree according to my context.

Readers, i like to know your point of view and experiences in this regard to clear-up my understanding and to remove misconceptions if i have any!

Enjoy testing! enjoy learning!

(!) NOTE: There are few small updates made on the original post (mostly changed the choice of words for proper interpretation).