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Author: Stéphane Colson

I have been a Software tester for 11 years now, formerly being a developer. I’m still passionate about this activity and enjoy talking with testers of all types and from all around the world.
This helps me to progress, gives me ideas for improvements in my own skills and challenges my ideas, based on my professional experience.
I am now a Freelancer, in Lyon or as a remote, depending on the customer’s needs.
Otherwise I like sports, running, cycling, reading and spending time with my lovely family. See my professional website https://testingit.eu
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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Misconceptions about software testing

Misconceptions about software testing

If you are reading this article, there’s a good chance that you are working as a software tester or intend to. Congratulations…and sorry for you. Why should I be sorry for you? Because this is far from being the easiest job in the world and you probably have to defend your positions and idea almost every day. However, if you’re passionate about your job, then I’m sure that it’s a kind of pleasure to discuss about it, argument with people having a different point of view and explain them why you can congratulate yourself about having made the good choice with this activity.

So what are the misconceptions about Software testing you may have to discuss?

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