Very Short Blog Posts (16): Usability Problems Are Probably Testability Problems Too

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 19:04 PM

Want to add ooomph to your reports of usability problems in your product? Consider that usability problems also tend to be testability problems. The design of the product may make it frustrating, inconsistent, slow, or difficult to learn. Poor affordances may conceal useful features and shortcuts. Missing help files could fail to address confusion; self-contradictory […]

I’ve Had It With Defects

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 14:00 PM

The longer I stay in the testing business and reflect on the matter, the more I believe the concept of “defects” to be unclear and unhelpful. A program may have a coding error that is clearly inconsistent with the program’s specification, whereupon I might claim that I’ve found a defect. The other day, an automatic […]

Very Short Blog Posts (15): “Manual” and “Automated” Testers

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 14:22 PM

“Help Wanted. Established scientific research lab seeks Intermediate Level Manual Scientist. Role is intended to complement our team of Automated and Semi-Automated Scientists. The successful candidate will perform research and scientific experiments without any use of tools (including computer hardware or software). Requires good communication skills and knowledge of the Hypothesis Development Life Cycle. Bachelor’s […]

Very Short Blog Posts (14): “It works!”

Monday, March 31, 2014 19:47 PM

“It works” is one of Jerry Weinberg‘s nominees for the most ambiguous sentence in the English language. To me, when people say “it works”, they really mean Some aspect of some feature or some function appeared to meet some requirement to some degree based on some theory and based on some observation that some agent […]

Very Short Blog Posts (13): When Will Testing Be Done?

Friday, March 21, 2014 18:54 PM

When a decision maker asks “When will testing be done?”, in my experience, she really means is “When will I have enough information about the state of the product and the project, such that I can decide to release or deploy the product?” There are a couple of problems with the latter question. First, as […]

Harry Collins and The Motive for Distinctions

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 00:50 AM

“Computers and their software are two things. As collections of interacting cogs they must be ‘checked’ to make sure there are no missing teeth and the wheels spin together nicely. Machines are also ‘social prostheses’, fitting into social life where a human once fitted. It is a characteristic of medical prostheses, like replacement hearts, that […]

Very Short Blog Posts (12): Scripted Testing Depends on Exploratory Testing

Sunday, February 23, 2014 18:16 PM

People commonly say that exploratory testing “is a luxury” that “we do after we’ve finished our scripted testing”. Yet there is no scripted procedure for developing a script well. To develop a script, we must explore requirements, specifications, or interfaces. This requires us to investigate the product and the information available to us; to interpret […]

“We are unable to reply directly”

Monday, February 10, 2014 22:20 PM

Apropos of my recent post responding to the sentiment “We have to automate”, I got a splendid example of the suppressed choice again today. If you haven’t read that post, you might find it helpful to read it now to set the context for my main point here. It started when I was sitting at […]

We Have to Automate

Friday, February 07, 2014 13:11 PM

A recent discussion on LinkedIn, entitled “Why Is Automated Software Testing A Better Choice?”, prompted some discussion. (As usual, the question “better than what?” was begged.) Then came this comment from my friend Jon Hagar: “There are … environments where the team must automate, e.g. a fast embedded control system where computation cycle is 10ms.” […]

Very Short Blog Posts (11): Passing Test Cases

Thursday, January 30, 2014 04:07 AM

Testing is not about making sure that test cases pass. It’s about using any means to find problems that harm or annoy people. Testing involves far more than checking to see that the program returns a functionally correct result from a calculation. Testing means putting something to the test, investigating and learning about it through […]