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Author: Stéphane Colson

I'm a Software tester since 10 years now, formely being a developper. I'm still passionate about this activity and enjoy talking with testers of all types and around the world. This allows me to progress, gives me idea for personal improvements of my skills and confront my ideas based on my professional experiences. Otherwise I like sports, running, biking, read and spending time with my lovely family.
Specialized or mixed conferences?

Specialized or mixed conferences?

I was at the MiXiT conference in Lyon last week to co-host a workshop/game with Ard and François using TestSphere that the community of testers (at least those who follow the Ministry Of Testing news) can not ignore.

The workshop is structured around the card deck which has several categories (techniques, heuristics, feelings, quality aspects and patterns) and each card describes an idea that helps the participants to think about a story they have to tell.

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Testing an open source project with students

Testing an open source project with students

Testing an open source project has some advantages compared to proprietary softwares:

  • everything is public and can be shared with anyone interested
  • you can communicate about your project, issues and features with no fear
  • you can use tools that are free only for open source projects (like Atlassian suite, Saucelabs…)
  • you may be helped by contributors and benefit from the community of open source lovers

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How to test on smartphones without smartphones?

How to test on smartphones without smartphones?

Mobile phones are everywhere and almost every service in the world has its own application. If not, the website is responsive and can be used on a small screen with bad network, and not only on your desktop with a fiber network. As a tester of a website or an Android/iPhone/WinPhone application, you need to test it as a real user, meaning on one or more smartphones or at least on the most used by your users/customers. It includes manual and automatic testing though. What if you don’t have one billion €uros/$ollars/£ounds to buy all the smartphones needed to be tested? Will you rely on Chrome dev tools for browsers application, knowing that developers already “quickly” test their work with it?

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Manage your biases as a tester – Part 4/4

Manage your biases as a tester – Part 4/4

This is the fourth and last article of the series about cognitive biases. Please start with this first article if it’s not done yet: Manage your biases as a tester Part 1. In this last one, we’ll see some biases of the category “What should we remember” of the Buster Benson‘s categorization according to his article

 


What should we remember?

 

Negativity bias

Something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behaviour and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.

opposites-489521_640Be careful not being too negative about someone else work, because it will have a greater impact on people than the opposite positive words. Because of the “Ikea effect”, everyone is very sensible about his own work and want it to be appreciated, not criticized. We, software testers, have this responsibility to be good communicators in all circumstances; for good news, but also for bad news. Also, giving some empathy will always be rewarded.

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Manage your biases as a tester – Part 3/4

Manage your biases as a tester – Part 3/4

In the first part of this series dedicated to biases, we saw a list dedicated to biases due to “Too much information“. Then in the second, some cognitive biases due to “Not enough meaning“. If you didn’t read them yet, I suggest you to start with these two articles before this one. In this third part, we’ll see that the “Need to act fast” can also lead to some biases.


Need to act fast

 

Risk compensation

Theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected.

cat-1459525_1280As a Software tester, you may feel more protected if you know that a lot of unit tests, integration tests and end-to-end tests are running on each build (and that they are green and enabled), but that doesn’t mean that there is no risk to evaluate in the new version, in particular if new developments have poor unit testing, useless integration tests and no end-to-end tests. You may have more checks and at the same time may have to be more aware and cautious with what is candidate to release. Please try not to compensate the risk.

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Manage your biases as a tester – Part 2/4

Manage your biases as a tester – Part 2/4

In the first part of this serie dedicated to biases, we see a list dedicated to biases due to “Too much information“. I suggest you to read it first if you didn’t read it yet. In this second part, we’ll see that “Not enough meaning” can also lead to some biases.


Not enough meaning

 Illusion of validity

A person overestimates his or her ability to interpret and predict accurately the outcome when analyzing a set of data, in particular when the data analyzed show a very consistent pattern—that is, when the data “tell” a coherent story.

waveYou are probably a victim of the “Illusion of validity” when you are testing a feature with a limited number of environments. If you couldn’t find any issue testing within the 10 major environments, the pattern is that the feature works with all those 10 environments, the story told by those 10 results is that there is no problem with that piece of software. Those 10 environments are only a part of all the possibilities, and if you stop there you may miss something very bothering. Testing can be infinite and you will hardly be able to test everything, but it’s your job as a tester to communicate that you couldn’t test all environments and give a good overview of the risks.

 

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Manage your biases as a tester – Part 1/4

Manage your biases as a tester – Part 1/4

It is a long time  since I wanted to write about cognitive biases. I have been first made aware of it while reading this fascinating book “Thinking, fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman (not a newbie, he won a Nobel prize), and with several blog posts or articles (references at the end). A list of all cognitive biases is available on wikipedia, but this is such a huge disorganized “tangled mess” that the task of writing about biases in Testing frightens me, and I have to admit that I procrastinated doing it. And then a blog post from Buster Benson (Product at SlackHQ) saved me. Thanks to his paternity leave, he decided to organize the mess and found four problems that biases help up to address: “Too much information”, “Not enough meaning”, “Need to act fast” and “What should we remember”. And now everything is almost crystal clear…at least if you go and read this.

An awesome visualization has been done by John Manoogian III and has been since added to the wikipedia page.

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Bug magnet, a tool to ease testing

Bug magnet, a tool to ease testing

Let me introduce you a tool I really find convenient. As a tester, you like to use heuristics for all kind of data you need to fill. Let’s talk about a simple example, a form where you need to enter your name, your address and a text.

You will test this with empty fields, very long text, SQL injection, Special characters, End-of-Line characters, text where numbers are only required and probably also with several encodings, etc  (See this Test Heuristics Cheat Sheet for more ideas). If you don’t have a UI framework that test this with data, then you need to enter this “manually”, or you can be helped by a tool like “Bug Magnet” available in the Chrome Store.

Then simply with a right click you will be able to add:

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