Nicky Tests Software: May 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The limitations of Acceptance Criteria

According to Software Testing Class, Acceptance Criteria are conditions which a software application should satisfy to be accepted by a user or customer.

Often these can also be used to guide the testing for a testing team. If the acceptance criteria are met, then the story has passed. You can choose to test strictly against the acceptance criteria by using test cases or exploratory testing etc. and then once each acceptance criteria has been "ticked off", you can mark testing as done.

The thing is - acceptance criteria has its limitations.

You are expecting someone to know in advance, before seeing the software, exactly how the software application should be. So if you are testing strictly against the Acceptance Criteria - you are in essence trusting that, that person (or group of people) who wrote the acceptance criteria knows everything about what is needed before the software is built.


People don't know what they want until they see it (same goes for knowing what they don't want)
I think it's possible to build a product that the customer did say they want then still find them to be unhappy because they realised once they saw it - that it wasn't quite what they wanted. After seeing something they are then better able to articulate what they want or need from the software application. They may not, however, be able to articulate what they want clearly - until they have something in front of them.


Here's a fun analogy to help me explain this further
Finding a romantic partner
Now of course finding a romantic partner and acceptance criteria are vastly different things, but let me explain. If you've ever, as a single person, talked to your friends etc. about what you want in a potential romantic partner, you may rattle off things such as:

  • Funny
  • Kind
  • Attractive
  • Likes sports
  • Same religion

Among other things, and these are things you may deem to be important. So let's assume the above criteria are all must-haves, they are your "acceptance criteria".

But as I said before - acceptance criteria has its limitations.

If you think you know exactly what you want when it comes to a romantic partner, then technically a friend can introduce you to someone who is Funny, Kind etc. and you'll be happy.

But it's not that simple, while there are some things that you may not want to compromise on, there are also some things you may not realise are important to you, until you have met someone who has those special qualities, which you didn't think to define. (or they may be missing some qualities that you didn't think to define)

 Image courtesy of http://ru.memegenerator.net/instance/62989262/darth-vader-i-find-your-lack-of-acceptance-criteria-disturbing

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Testbash Belfast 2017 Experience Report Part I

This is a two-part Experience Report, the first part will cover preparing my talk, the pre-Testbash Shindig and the first half of the conference. The second part will cover the second half of the conference and the Post-Testbash shindig.


Preparing my talk

I started preparing my talk around 2-2.5 months before the conference. But I didn't properly gain momentum until about 1.5 months before my talk. Initially I tried to write the whole talk in Google Docs - but I found that didn't work for me. Instead, I ended up creating the slides and writing speaker notes below.

I aimed to have a completed presentation ASAP and then just edit it continuously up until I gave my talk. I find it a lot easier to edit a presentation that's complete than to add more to one that is incomplete.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Experience at Romanian Testing Conference 2017 - told through photos

I thought I'd share my experience at Romanian Testing Conference 2017 with the use of photos :)


Here are some photos of our talented speakers on the evening of Thursday 11 May, before the main conference day.





Here's Rob Lambert , the conference chair, welcoming all of us to the Romanian Testing Conference 2017





One of my favourite slides from Santhosh Tuppad's opening keynote



Some photos from Adam Knight's talk on communicating risk





Marcel Gehlen sharing his expertise on creating a test friendly environment



One of the slides from Elizabeth Zagroba's talk on how to succeed as an introvert




At lunch we had quite the dessert offering, I ate less than half of what's on this plate. It was very rich. But I saw lots of other people eat twice the amount on this plate for dessert. 



My certificate :)



Harry Girlea giving his closing keynote



Sightseeing - I'm doing my classic thumbs up pose here



The Opera House in Cluj


View over Cluj




Going for a walk in central park






Monday, May 15, 2017

Don't call it exploratory testing (if it's not exploratory testing)

Well, this is a bit of a rant - but seriously.

I don't like people calling an activity exploratory testing when it's actually ad hoc testing.

Get it right.

I think using the term "exploratory testing" loosely - takes away from the value that actual exploratory testing can add to a project.


Below are a few questions to ask yourself, to see if you are actually doing exploratory testing (or if it's in fact ad hoc testing)


  • Are you doing concurrent test design and test execution at the same time?
  • Are past findings influencing what you do next? 
  • Have you written some test ideas or goals in mind - to help you explore the application?
  • Are you documenting your test session?
  • Are you focussing on both positive and negative scenarios? (if you're just looking for bugs - this is likely to be ad hoc testing)
  • Can you explain the process/what you did during the test session to someone else?
  • Are you a skilled tester? (ad hoc can be done by anyone, doing proper exploratory testing is a skill in itself)
  • Are you doing SBTM (Session Based Test Management)? This is a way to structure your exploratory testing. If you are doing SBTM, this is a good way to indicate you are doing Exploratory Testing. BUT, if you're not doing SBTM, that doesn't necessarily mean you're not doing Exploratory Testing.




Updated: I  have updated this blog post to help explain the difference between ad hoc testing and exploratory testing by posing a few questions

Monday, May 8, 2017

Interview with Mark Winteringham

In his own words, here's a bit about Mark Winteringham:


I am a tester, coach, mentor, teacher and international speaker, presenting workshops and talks on technical testing techniques. I’ve worked on award winning projects across a wide variety of technology sectors ranging from broadcast, digital, financial and public sector working with various Web, mobile and desktop technologies.


I’m an expert in technical testing and test automation and a passionate advocate of risk-based automation and automation in testing practices which I regularly blog about at mwtestconsultancy.co.uk and the co-founder of the Software Testing Clinic. in London, a regular workshop for new and junior testers to receive free mentoring and lessons in software testing. I also have a keen interest in various technologies, developing new apps and Internet of thing devices regularly. You can get in touch with me on Twitter: @2bittester






I noticed that the next event for Software Testing Clinic is sold out for both mentors and students - any plans to expand in the near future?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Getting started on a testing project

I started on a new project a few weeks ago and thought it would be a good idea to share a checklist for what new testers on a project need and some good starting questions when you, as a tester, are new on a project


Checklist for what new testers on a project need (Note, your project may not include all of the below)

Note to check if user credentials are needed for any of the below