Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm in software testing eBook

My long awaited eBook is released.
Daily Testing Tip and Software Testing Club have launched an eBook recently. I’m extremely happy to see the eBook created with one simple but powerful idea which turned into a fabulous eBook for a great cause. The idea was a twitter challenge prompted by Daily Testing Tip's Anne-Marie Charrett to complete the phrase "If I were a test case I would..." The response was overwhelming to tribute for a cause.

The cause is to help Chandrashekar B.N (Chandru). Chandru is a passionate tester and we testers are contributing our sincere prayers and money to beat his Blood Cancer. Yes, Chandru is affected with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. For more information please continue surfing more web links here: http://helpchandru.com | http://bit.ly/9LyGyi | http://bit.ly/cW0u6k .You're helping hands are equally better as you're praying lips. Please help Chandru. Thank you!

@xploresqa is Shiva Mathivanan:
I was patiently going through each sections of eBook page-by-page. However, I was impatient to check whether I have made my five responses up for eBook?. I typed CTRL + F in my QWERTY keyboard to get where I wanted to reach. Yes I have made it. My twitter name @xploresqa along with my 3 responses was featured in software testing eBook. I smiled with pleasure :) . Thank you @charrett for this wonderful initiative.

I am glad to see my name in popular software testing eBook. Out of my 5 responses you can find 3 of them in the eBook which you gonna download shortly. Those were:

Download eBook for Free:
It contains over 200 interesting responses and cartoons (created by Cartoon Tester) from the testing community answering and completing the following sentence: "If I were a test case, I would...".Please do have a read. There are some really great responses there. Download it for free here - http://bit.ly/dPpiXC

Enjoy reading testing eBook!

Best Regards,
Shiva Mathivanan.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

LinkedIn – Error message is valid but unhelpful

Today I started to test forgot password functionality of a CMS (content management system) driven portal. I now wanted to relate the existing functionality of 'forgot password' with popular portals to understand its behavior. Why I wanted to relate with the existing system is because we don’t have reliable functional specification of the portal I test on the whole and more particularly on 'forgot password' module. I truly believe that functional specification won’t be sufficient enough for me to create new test ideas so as to add value to the software products I test. Thus I have chosen LinkedIn portal to understand its ‘forgot password’ module. LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network portal has over 80 million members in over 200 countries. When I started to map the behaviour of LinkedIn with the portal I wanted to test a bug started to dance in my screen. That text field validation bug is not in the portal I wanted to test but in LinkedIn. If you are curious to know what the bug is? Read through my bug report.

Bug Title: LinkedIn – Forgot Password's error message is valid but unhelpful.

Defect Module: Password Reset.
Severity: Medium.
Priority: Medium.
Tested Environment: Mozilla Firefox V3.0 & Google Chrome V7.0 on Windows XP professional V5.1 Service Pack 2 operating system.

Steps to reproduce:
  1. Enter this url www.linkedin.com in any browser. 
  2. Click on Sign In link from menu or from 'Join LinkedIn Today' form at right navigation to get redirected to secured hypertext transfer protocol i.e. https://www.linkedin.com/secure/login?trk=hb_signin  
  3. Now, click on Forgot password? Link, adjacent to Password text filed.
  4. I see a very sensible user friendly instruction from LinkedIn, for LinkedIn users like me. I appreciate it i.e. “Please enter the email address you used to create your LinkedIn account, and we will send you a link to reset your password”. Thanks to LinkedIn for that.
  5. Now, do not wait to hit the ‘Submit Address’ button leaving the text field blank.
Screen shot of the defect area:
    LinkedIn - Forgot Password?
    Observed Result:
    I see a warning message stating 'Please correct the marked field(s) below.'
    along with "Please enter a value." field level validation error message as soon I hit 'submit address' button. Following questions struck me to continue retrieving my new password from LinkedIn.

    Heuristic questions to LinkedIn:
    1. What VALUE do you expect your user to enter to get new password?
    2.  If you question me, Hey Shiva Mathivanan: Don't you consider email address as a value? I have an answer for you from wikipedia. The word 'value' is ambiguous
    3. As soon I enter some value example'123' (this value struck my mind instantly when I read "Please enter a value", not sure why I did that instead of entering special characters like !@#$%^&*()~`, ASCII character, Time & Date or QWERTY Keyboard strings, ) and when hit ‘Submit Address’ button I get “Please enter a valid email address” error message. Why don’t you wish to ask me this for the first time, when I hit Submit button leaving the text box empty?
      Extra Informations:  
      1. Reproducibility - 100%
      2. Can the user get some helpful error message like" Please enter a valid email address" instead of "Please enter a value"?
      3. "Please enter a value" field level validation error message may be hard coded. Maybe a curious developer who wanted to see his functional code gets working has done without considering who the end user are?
      Note: Extra informations can be used to ascertain expected results.
        Thanks for spending valuable time,
        Shiva Mathivanan.

        PS: Maybe next time I will post a serious bug, if you consider this issue as 'not so serious' bug. I never wait to post defects after bug investigation as soon I uncover, that's how I work and coach to my co-testers. I have started reporting this bug to communicate LinkedIn & the software world that creates less user friendly products with valid but unhelpful error messages.

        As a tester get to know what questions can a tester generate from Million questions a tester should ask by Pradeep Soundararajan. I'm sure you won't question any more that why tester's want to question? :)

        Sunday, October 10, 2010

        It's all about tester's mindset

        Hurray, it’s Friday and I'm back home after work. It's quite a quiet week, as we met all test deliverables as per scheduled date & time.
        While I drove back home, a car adjacent to me crossed his lane violating traffic rules and was about to hit me and I slowed down for a while to allow him to overtake, else there would be a great smash-up between us followed by huge traffic Jam. If you know about Chennai traffic you can easily imagine the latter situation very well.

        Right away, I questioned my project manager, who accompanied me in the car, that why the hell is he violating the traffic rules. To which he replied calmly It's simple that we Indians take advantage of our circumstances and won't be self-disciplined ( his comment made me to ponder for a while that "Hey Shiva Mathivanan, how self- disciplined are you?, self-critic". Now I realize what is left to improve within myself). My project manager then made an additional comment, that we Indians never trash waste's in dustbin could be biodegradable or non-biodegradable wastes we don't mind in clearing trashes like chocolate wrappers, coke cans, pet bottles, polythene bags, etc in dustbin even if the dustbin's are at reachable proximity. We never even think to spit on roads, and violate traffic rules. Have you also noticed that the same Indian who moves overseas to Singapore and other European countries never even tries to indulge in undisciplined behaviour, that he had done for so many years in India? I sensed his strong emotional feeling that is oriented towards his real grievance. To my surprise, why do we try to adopt with conditions in overseas and sincerely tries to take advantage of our Indian circumstances rather than being self-disciplined all the time? Why do we behave so?

        This instance disturbed my consciousness and made to relate our Indian mindset with Indian tester's mindset, of questioning myself "How we are?-Why we are?-The way we are?"

        Note: This is about smart Indian testers who are resistive to change, for good. So please don't generalize this about all smart Indian testers.

        How we are - Why we are - The way we are?
        • We don't want to be blamed from project manager or QA Manager treeing "how did you miss this defect when you tested last month?” while we have all possible reasons to JUSTIFY it. Why do we behave so?

        • We don't we want to be damned among everyone in team meetings for our own flaws; however we are very much comfortable if the same curse is fed in privacy. Why do we behave so?

        • We always want us to be in comfort zone of 'level B'. I respect the transformation we have earned from 'Level A' to 'Level B', but why aren't we open to learn and advance to other degrees? Do we still want to be in comfort zone of 'Level B' with full knowledge and deliberation than attempting to direct ourselves to other levels? Why do we behave so?

        • We don't want to be questioned by anyone in office space. But why aren't we open to questions and have patience to provide worthy answers?

        • We will test functionalities/GUI to validate what is detailed in functional specification to confirm testability and we won't question the software product to raise more valid issues, which is not elaborated in user specification? Example -what if the user-friendly error message is accurate but unhelpful?. Why are we not prepared to question the system out-of-heuristics?. Michael Bolton say's a direct violation of a reliable specification is probably a bug and we tester need to change the question "does this test pass or fail? to a question that better addresses a possible threat to someone's values:"Is there a problem here?". Why do we fail to test and raise question to the team, instead we argue that it is not provided in the functional specification, so it was left untested. Although we are very sure that most of the specification won't be reliable for everyone in the team?

        • If we aren't open for Idea's, where will we find the room for our own improvements? Why do we behave so?

        • There are various models which have been presented in the past 20 years in the field of software engineering for development and testing. Most of the tester's who worked in those famous testing models like Waterfall Model, V Model, W Model, Spiral Model and Butterfly Model are coined as traditional tester's and these models are said to be outdated as it cannot be followed in the current trend of the way we work in Software testing. It is true because testing craft has made us to learn in recent times of "what is the best fit of tests required for the project we get to test" hence most of the companies rely on building agile manifesto - a change for good. How many testers are prepared to change their pattern of testing for good? We always resist to changing. Why do we behave so?

        • Why are we not confident enough to test a software application or a product without a functional specification? Michael Bolton say's you don't always need to wait for complete specifications to start your testing effort here. Why are we not up for that yet?

        • When have we conceded, recently that 'Yes, It's my mistake. I will correct next time'. Why are we failing to accept our own mistakes? If we cannot consent ourselves, how will we understand the impact of the mistakes that might have affected the team's deliverable and if we can't understand the severity of it how will we amend, next time?

        Our way of reacting to a situation is adopted by how we are. Why we are reacting to the way we are? is because we are directly related to instance of our current learning respective to our current level of expertise. The problem here is that we aren't upgrading our learning skills. Get to know why smart people struggle behind reacting to change by Rajesh Setty.

        Harry Robinson, Test Architect for Microsoft's Enterprise Management Division predicts the future of testing here.I now foresee that the change he expects has began to infect, BUT the change isn't COMPLETELY infected for good.

        Thanks for spending valuable time,
        Shiva Mathivanan.

        "We learn little from victory, much from defeat. Don't think in terms of Win or Lose. You cannot always win, but you can always learn".-Jerry Weinberg.

        Sunday, August 29, 2010

        Witnessed Bangalore Testers Meet-up #4

        This blog post is the aftermath of my recent learning experience. I saw a tweet from Santhosh Tuppad, author of www.tuppad.com on Bangalore Testers Meet-up #4 August 28th, 2010 at 0600 PM IST.

        Quick 5 questions chewed my mind were,
        1. What’s this tester’s meet-up is all about?
        2. What would be the agenda?
        3. What could be the outcome of this meet-up?
        4. What’s new will I be learning & sharing, if I take part in this meet-up?

        5. How will I be benefited, if I want to travel all the way to Bangalore from Chennai?

        Quick answers from Santhosh Tuppad.
        I invited myself to this party. Began to negotiate, got cool answers with broad *smiles*. I like him, for his hospitality, you want to know why - continue reading his very first reply...

        Wow, I am glad to hear it from you Shiva. This is really amazing and I am seeing the change in Indian testers willing to travel for meeting testers and interacting with them. This is amazing. You are most welcome. You can come to the meet-up my dear friend. Please share your phone number so that I can call you and talk to you. *Thumbs up*.
        Santhosh Tuppad

        Quick investment of 6 hrs journey. (from Chennai-To-Bangalore)
        When I shared this piece of information to my colleagues they were greatly interested to be an active participant of this summit. That sounded interesting to me, while two of my other colleague were little reluctant since they had other personal works. Since then, I got approval from Santhosh to bring two more co-testers Ajwan & Sivakumar-the test enthusiast to this summit. 'Approval Granted'- we landed safe, checked in at my friends place and after refreshment we were all set to take part in the meet-up. Breeze was so cool at 0545 pm IST, is the time when I rang Santhosh to Check for his availability. He was right there at Transit, Forum Mall, Bangalore. Right at 0600 pm, we just started with some introduction talk while we were waiting for other participants to come.

        Quick testing in 15 minutes deadline & to produce test reports,
        When we had the entire known participants list that had come we started discussions and after some time Pradeep Soundararajan took initiative of starting an exercise. We were asked to split up among the participants in the fashion we had seated. So teams formed with 4 members.Each team had one laptop. We were asked to test Microsoft Calculator. My team included Dhanasekar S, Myself,Nitin Purswani and Santhosh Tuppad-is the one who took control of the laptop where we performed tests which included everyone test ideas. However the ultimate control was with Sathosh since he owned a laptop :) While we were testing Pradeep offered us drink and he got a drink for each of us. Finally, we got 10 new bugs of existing-successful-Microsoft product [Wait, no matter of being proud this wasn’t a competition this was an exercise- This was the instruction from the facilitator]. We were asked to stop testing as the end of 15th minute as the time got over.

        Quick Evaluation,
        Pradeep Soundararajan started evaluating our reports and asked us questions about strategy – team work, individual contributions to the team and more. He was evaluating based on our answers and our reports and many other criteria. Q&A session extended to 4 hours of highlighting traps,
        Common Traps from the teams were,
        -We did not ask any question before testing,
        -We did not have a planned strategy,
        -We did not check whether Microsoft Calculator had known issues in Google,
        -We just jumped onto testing,
        -We just listed bugs, however we did not take notes and our observations,

        -We did not question, what kind-of bug report does Pradeep expect?

        Quick Learning
        Normally, we think that 15 minutes won't be sufficient to raise these above valid questions to get sufficient answers. But during those 15 minutes everyone answered 'Yes' to Pradeep Soundararajan when he questioned ''Guys I wish to sponsor drinks, who would like to opt for it?''. So it is not the time factor. It is we who jump on to testing without questioning about the test activity. I remember the real-time-test-deadlines and our assertiveness to react to such critical deadline. Altogether every bit of information was valuable and had lots of learning & fun at the end of the summit

        Dear Chennai testers, Is there some initiative happening at our end like this for chennai tester's? something like Chennai Testers Meet-up#. If so let me know about it.OR if I see any volunteers who would like to be a part of it, we can try implementing in Chennai- If you're one among us, who are ready to learn,share and keep on learning.

        If you want to take part in Bangalore Testers Meet-up# contact @santhoshst or @xploresqa in twitter.

        Thanks you for spending valuable time,
        Shiva Mathivanan.

        Sunday, August 22, 2010

        Testing mentors in limelight

        I recently met so many experienced test engineers and testers, who are not with engineering background but with different streams of science & math in India. To my surprise most of them aren't aware of neither the context driven school of testing nor the heuristic aspects of testing in general.

        ‘Ah what does that mean?’ I can sense your interrogative look too, continue reading :)

        The most “senior test engineers” or “QA professionals”, in whatsoever designation a ‘software tester (a hominid who tests software products) would like him to be identified, have just learnt how to survive in their jobs, by building test metrics, test case designing, test case execution, test automation, bug reports, traceability matrix, test reports, etc; driven fundamentally based on SDLC & STLC, for days, months & years. Though these testers pertain to be successful testers, they lack the essence of sustaining in this craft for longer period. Why is it so?
        It is because, they have been practicing testing just because to uphold their jobs particularly in recession times. Although most of these experienced manual and automation testers in India, who claim they acquire 10+ and more years of experience, are into this craft of testing ONLY either by strange coincidence or by choice and NOT by Interest. So fundamentally they are reluctant to share their knowledge, ideas even to their co-tester, despite of generating teamwork cohesion. Typically, this implies a preservation of nothing.

        The outcome of this attitude will conduct a tester to think & preach to his co-testers as follows:

        • Testing is monotonous
        • Testing has lesser scope to learn & earn.
        • Testing is not challenging as programming.
        • Testing is a dumb activity, if worked in the same domain for 3+ years.
        • Testing is theoretical, the one who mug up the definitions can clear interviews easily to get bunch of job offers.
        • Testing is a battle field with programmer. Programmer's always battles with the tester, who injects defects on his code, be prepared. *caution to tester, by senior tester.
        • Testing is a dependent job, always should depend on the programmer & release engineering team.
        • Testing consumes more time, not even 30% of development time is provided for testing. However, they expect 100% test coverage that too in tight deadlines.
        • Testing is reiterative activity, feeling exasperated beyond endurance.
        • Testing is__________________________________________
        You can spend invaluable time in virtually filling you’re preserved pessimistic thoughts in your mind, If you had already been advocating the same to your co-testers, programmers & managers.

        When you saw the blank straight line after the words 'Testing is" have you had a question in your mind that 'why it's left blank'? Before reading the next line of sentences?
        If so, it's good continue reading... If not practice the art of questioning!

        From the blog reader, mind’s- Hey, come-on Shiva Mathivanan, you have been cursing me for so long, you were just highlighting the traditional flaws, misapprehension, ambiguous definitions in testing crafts.
        How can you prove that I’m wrong? I bet if you prove it will help me to understand where we mutually stand. And also tell us what is context driven school of testing, what's heuristics all about and how is it going to benefit me in this testing craft, how can I be more passionate towards testing?. (Yes, I can hear you)

        Shiva Mathivanan - Good question: I can very well prove what you desire. However, I would like you to read what my mentors have already told about testing. Read through my mentor’s views; start contributing to the testing arenas where my mentors participate. I’m sure that your testing genes will regenerate better (like how normal hormonal genes hyper when a hot girl/boy passer-by *wit*) and you will be a self motivated tester soon, someday.

        I’m honored to introduce my great testing mentors. I have chosen them as guru in my testing religion is because I have understood their sensible talks, views, approaches and reliable service to testing community. I always have wondered, how limelight testers & mentors like James Bach, Cem Kaner, Michael Bolton & , Jerry Weinberg have never got tired of rendering their service to this software testing community, while most of the Indian testing geeks in various parts of the globe still in obscurity?

        To bring the change, I welcome you all to read my mentor’s view:
        1. Dr.Cem Kaner, Software Engineering Professor– http://kaner.com
        2. James Bach, Principal Staisfice.Inc – http://www.satisfice.com
        3. Jerry Weinberg, consultant - http://www.geraldmweinberg.com
        4. Michael Bolton, http://www.developsense.com
        5. Pradeep Soundararajan, Test consultant - http://testertested.blogspot.com

        My dear blog reader’s you too will be the Ekalavya of above testing genius, some day if you ensure realization of their context. Get into the habit of writing blogs, Get to know why good software testers should write blogs by Pradeep Soundararajan. Pradeep is a exceptional Indian, who never set back to consult, coach and serve as prelude to Indian testing community.

        The after effects of testers who reads my mentor's blog:
        • Exploratory testing is what I have been doing, but never to this extent.
        • Rapid software testing is WOW.
        • I'm proud to be a sapient tester, rather identified as manual tester.
        • To be a tester is a blessing, I enjoy everyday test activities.
        • Developer versus Tester a win-win kaizen to build quality into the product.
        • I started blogging my test experience, sharing thereby learning more.
        • I understood how to question a product in order to evaluate it - James Bach.
        • My approach towards testing has refined a lot.
        • My confidence boosted, I can be a successful independent test consultant in future.
        Who knows some day, someone like me will be highlighting your views to rest of the testing world, like how I showered my tribute. All the best!

        Evaluate you're testing experience, how was testing? by www.vettanna.com
        Thank you for spending valuable time!
        Shiva Mathivanan

        Wednesday, August 11, 2010

        Hello Testing World!

        I'm wending a step forward into the blogger's world. This is the blog space to showcase my test experience and to cater you the joy of software testing on your yearn.

        SOWN now, and hey wow can you see its GROWING well, then of-course it will BEAR you soon.

        Welcome to my Blog
        Shiva Mathivanan, Senior Test Engineer

        I belong to context driven school of testing. If you want to know more about me then contact me at shivakumar.mathivanan@gmail.com or Skype me at shivamathivanan. I welcome you all once again to my blog. Wishing to hit your vision & conscious soon with updated posts. Thank you.!

        This blog is under preparation for the launch.
        copyrights held by Shiva Mathivanan. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED