On Red

Friday, June 26, 2015 04:16 AM

What actually happens when a check returns a “red” result? Some people might reflexively say “Easy: we get a red; we fix the bug.” Yet that statement is too simplistic, concealing a good deal of what really goes on. The other day, James Bach and I transpected on the process. Although it’s not the same […]

What Is A Tester?

Thursday, June 25, 2015 18:14 PM

A junior tester relates some of the issues she’s encountering in describing her work. To the people who thinks she “just breaks stuff all day”, here’s what I might reply: It’s not that I don’t just break stuff; I don’t break stuff at all. The stuff that I’ve given to test is what it is; […]

On a Role

Monday, June 15, 2015 06:04 AM

This article was originally published in the February 2015 edition of Testing Trapeze, an excellent online testing magazine produced by our testing friends in New Zealand. There are small edits here from the version I submitted. Once upon a time, before I was a tester, I worked in theatre. Throughout my career, I took on […]

A Bad Couple of Days

Friday, June 05, 2015 20:04 PM

I’m home in Toronto for a day after several weeks of helping people learn to test software, and as far as I can see, the whole Web is screwed up. Here are some of the things that have happened in the last 48 hours or so. A fellow on Twitter told me about an interesting […]

Very Short Blog Posts (28): Users vs. Use Cases

Thursday, May 07, 2015 17:26 PM

As a tester, you’ve probably seen use cases, and they’ve probably informed some of the choices you make about how to test your product or service. (Maybe you’ve based test cases on use cases. I don’t find test cases a very helpful way of framing testing work, but that’s a topic for another post—or for […]

Very Short Blog Posts (27): Saving Time

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 19:41 PM

Instead of studying and learning from every bug, you can save a lot of time by counting and aggregating bug reports. That’s a good thing in its way, because if you don’t study and learn from every bug, you’ll need all the time you can get to deal with problems that seem to keep happening […]

Exploratory Testing 3.0

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 04:09 AM

This blog post was co-authored by James Bach and me. In the unlikely event that you don’t already read James’ blog, I recommend you go there now. The summary is that we are beginning the process of deprecating the term “exploratory testing”, and replacing it with, simply, “testing”. We’re happy to receive replies either here […]

Oracles Are About Problems, Not Correctness

Friday, March 13, 2015 02:49 AM

As James Bach and I have have been refining our ideas of testing, we’ve been refining our ideas about oracles. In a recent post, I referred to this passage: Program testing involves the execution of a program over sample test data followed by analysis of the output. Different kinds of test output can be generated. […]

Very Short Blog Posts (26): You Don’t Need Acceptance Criteria to Test

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 20:08 PM

You do not need acceptance criteria to test. Reporters do not need acceptance criteria to investigate and report stories; scientists do not need acceptance criteria to study and learn about things; and you do not need acceptance criteria to explore something, to experiment with it, to learn about it, or to provide a description of […]

Very Short Blog Posts (25): Testers Don’t Break the Software

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 04:28 AM

Plenty of testers claim that they break the software. They don’t really do that, of course. Software doesn’t break; it simply does what it has been designed and coded to do, for better or for worse. Testers investigate systems, looking at what the system does; discovering and reporting on where and how the software is […]