Sunday, May 3, 2020

Simplified Bug Prioritization Matrix

No cartoon today, it is just an illustration of our internal simplified bug prioritization matrix

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Doozy! Only two bugs left.

That's what I thought, until we got the next version...

As James Whittaker wrote in “Exploratory Software Testing”, bugs tend to congregate for a variety of reasons such as complexity of the code, skill of the assigned developer, number of bugs in the past, etc. To make it short; where you see one bug there are likely more near around. You just need to look for them.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bad luck !

According to the table below(published by the New York Times [1] today on March 20), New York has almost 7 times the amount of registered infected Corona patients compared to Washington but "only" about 0.5% of them have died so far.

That's quite a good quota (for Corona). Let's have a look at the other side of the continent.   The Corona deathrate in Washington is nearly 6%. That's quite a contrast. What can be the reason for this difference? In most other States the mortality rate is roughly around 2%, similar to other countries in the world.

Here are some superficial (not seriously meant) hypotheses:

  • The New Yorkers are doing something extremly right and those in Washington are doing something extremely wrong
  • The dirty air in New York is poison for the virus. The more CO2, the better for human beings. Bad news for Greta Thunberg.
  • New York may not be a typical state for eldery people to relax...,probably more young and healthy people live there while in Washington may be a pan of sick or eldery people spend the rest of their lives there (again, this isn't meant seriously, okay?)
  • New York was better prepared for this predictable disaster
  • or...the measures may have been taken inconsistently and/or the numbers are simply wrong
Let's get more curious and read the full article. We find valuable information by reading the details and then very quickly understand what happened. It is noted that 2900 of the reported cases in New York were all registered at the day of publishing the numbers. Interesting, probably it is too early for those new cases to "die". If we ignore these new cases (7102-2900), we still have a quite good quote of 0.8%. Better than in many countries worldwide. But further reading the article reveals “At least 35 of the deaths were connected to a single nursing center in Washington" and "...many of those cases involved older people with other health problems that made them especially vulnerable to coronavirus”.

Aha! So, it was jsut bad luck for the nursing center to get hit so hard. If you ignore these numbers (75-35)…we are back to an almost "normal" rate of 2%.

These numbers make sense now. No need for me to look for creative hypothetical argumentation.

And the link to IT? A similar incident once happend near the end of our software development sprint. In parallel to the development of user-stories, we also performed refactoring tasks to get rid of technical debt. As is the nature of refactoring, it may break previously working functionality. This is what happened: Instead of being ready for the sprint review, we had to reject the demo of 2 buggy user-stories that were working properly just a day before. It cost us valuable story points. We didn't achieve the goal. What followed were long-winded discussions and assumptions of what to do and what not to do in the future, whereas I thought: "WTF, Just bad luck, shit happens".


Wednesday, March 11, 2020


Basel carnival cancelled, soccer games cancelled, business trips cancelled, Swiss Testing Day conference cancelled, borders closed and today it was announced that all flights from Europe to the States are going to be stopped by end of this week. WTF. My friends just managed to catch a plane to New Zealand...probably one of the last ones. Will they be able to catch a plane back home to manage their big farm in the Engadina? Everyday another employee is missing in our offices because he/she either feels sick or is afraid to feel sick soon. It's a weird silence. Those who dare to cough are potential suspects. Even worse if you fetch a handkerchief.

If you had predicated all this 2 weeks before, I had sent you to the psychiatrist to help you return to reality. Well, this has now become the new reality and that's why I feel baffled...where does all this end? Either, the whole racket goes up in smoke very soon or...yes, or what? Can't really think of any alternatives. It's a situation we never experienced before, hence whatever is decided probably can't be so wrong. It's all new, we are learning. We are learning to deal with a worst case scenario and we are likely to pay a high price. Can I go on a summer holiday and have a
swim in the Sea this year? Will we lose money if we book anything anywhere or do we have to stop planning at all and instead live spontaneously? Will I be trapped behind closed borders? Will my family fight for food soon? People living in war zones would still envy me for my comfortable situation. So it's not a worst case scenario yet, maybe just not a very funny one. What happens after this is all over? How many people will lose their jobs because their company went bankrupt or because the company is forced to tighten their belts. Spooky.

What shall I do? Drawing is a nice therapy...and while I am doing that, I am listening to Dave Grusin, Grover Washington, Fourplay, The Rippingstones, Earl Klugh, great this feels at the moment. It's my drug to disappear into a different world, at least for a short moment in time. I need it right now.

And tomorrow, I am having a beer with a good friend.

Add on as of March 21: In general, this is a blog about software testing only where I put my cartoons and enrich it with explanatory text, but sometimes, I am inspired by things that happen outside the world of testing, like Corona for example. My brain is currently full of cartoon ideas related to Corona. Since I don't want to deviate from my testing related cartoon strategie, I have decided to simply put all my Corona related cartoons into this particular blog entry  rather than to create a new entry for each cartoon.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

404 caused by clumsy whales

ThanX a lot to Balz Gilgen who handed over to me his draft for this cartoon.
I didn't have to change too much. I took it almost 1:1. Check yourself below.

Further reading on a real whale who got tangled:

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Demo Effect

"Hang on, the demo starts soon, then let's go out and ruin their show".

Originally, the text was "wait until the sprint review is over, then let's go out and show up again", but the scene is less funny with the previous text. The current one turns this cartoon into a more common situation, aka. the demo-effect.

The original text  has its root in a real story. Long time ago (not in the company I work right now), the product owner regularly moved all reported defects to a low priority heap shortly before the sprint review, only to put them back into the next sprint right after the review. The goal was to shine with a good product having non-important bugs. With this approach he kept the release manager quiet, because the release manager was looking at high priority bugs only shortly before the review. If there weren't any left, the product owners were out of the line of fire.

It's like in Patriot Games, where the secret armed forces in the desert knew exactly when the spy satellite flied over their hidden military camp. They tided up everything shortly before it reaches their coordinates and then they rebuilt the camp after it had passed (until next time). Result: pin sharp satellite images of unsuspicious cabins in the desert.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Robots slacking off

Dear readers,
this is very likely my last cartoon for 2019 and I am already looking forward to drawing and publishing the next ones in 2020.
14 cartoons in a year is not bad, considering the fact, I have hardly any time to settle back after work and after having helped kids for school.

For those who want to know, I have a quite consistent hit-count on my blog (1600 pageviews p. month). In my world this is a lot. Well, not enough to become famous but still a lot of reasons to continue drawing in 2020.  I wish you very XMAS (even though I am kind of late) and a happy New Year 2020.
Torsten J. Zelger

Sunday, December 8, 2019

False Positives

When developers start working on a new feature, they sometimes hard-code things with the intention to replace this part later with dynamic values. Sometimes, these snippets are forgotten, and you are testing features that work with hard-coded results. Success messages aren't excluded from this practice.

Simply said, never trust any success messages. If the program claims it worked, the program may be wrong. The opposite is also true.

The term "false positives" has its roots in medical testing. A false positive is an error in which a test result improperly indicates presence of a disease (the result is positive), when - in reality - it is not present, while a false negative is an error in which a test result improperly indicates no presence of the disease when in reality it is present.



Friday, November 29, 2019

Technical Debt not close-to-balance

I think it is normal in a project to accumulate technical debt somehow. You may have tough deadlines or other reasons to tend get things done more quickly than usual, probably with the mindset of getting it right later.

Other reasons for (quick) workarounds are new awarenesss (more experience) of how things work better under certain circumstances. The old approach was good for one particular problem, but not good enough for a general solution.

An increasing number of developers working on the same project may force the architect to enforce new coding guidelines or best practices for typical software development problems.

The use of embedded third party software may also trigger changes on your side when updates are delivered.

Technical debt should be avoided as much as possible and yes, there are scenarios where you are simply forced to live with technical debt. But, one should always be aware that, often, the time to improve old code won't be availble. Even if there will be such time, think about the risk of removing technical debt. Someone who works under pressure not only tends to seed ugly workarounds, but he is likely also adding sloppy unit tests (if he adds any at all). If that's the case, removing technical debts with refactored code adds new risks breaking functionality you won't know about until the customer reports them.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Kind of mixed up

Fred: "Lucy, look I bought a pedal tractor for our kids".

Lucy: "No you didn't, you fool! "

Sunday, October 13, 2019

How dare you, Lambretta?

Usually I am testing software, but today, I enjoyed a 15 minute test ride on a brand-new Lambretta and
I decided to add my personal results to my cartoon blog even though this blog is mainly for software testing.

My goal today was to check-out whether the Lambretta revival V-Special is an interesting alternative
to my beloved but seriously broken Vespa. I've read the Lambretta advertisement in the news. I checked many pictures and it made me curious. The longer I googled the more excited I got, and I also checked the price which seemed reasonable to me.

The positive things I noted, was the quiet motor and the firm road holding at the speed of 80km/h. Something I wasn't used to my current Vespa. Also the design of the new Lambretta is great and contains so much of the Sixties. There is also space for the helmet under the seat which is cool.
However, less joyful is the fact, that almost everything is made out of plastic. Would have been great if at least the wings could have been made out of solid metal. If you carry a passenger, the wing will be full of scratches shortly.
I understand, in order to save fuel, you need to consider weight, but a little less of elastic material is desirable.

While on the test ride, I realized the slightly oversized LCD monitor just below the small analog speedo. Unfortunately, the LCD is so big that you can hardly read your speed in the analog display which I think is kind of dangerous, because you spend too much time looking for the needle; time that may be needed elsewhere.

Overall it looks really nice. The designers did a great job keeping as much of the Sixties as possible. It didn't work out for the mounting actually and the plastic, unfortuantely, is a disappointement. I really hope they are going to change that soon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

He just knew too much

THE DAILY BUG. "A software tester was found dead due to an overdose of drugs yesterday evening at his home in lower Manhattan, New York. His body was discovered before dawn on Sunday, October 5. He was a professional software tester and known for his strategies in spotting even hard to find bugs. An interviewed friend on site believes, he was murdered. "The tester was threatened several times by suspicious phone calls", he said. The police states they have found traces left by ugly critters at the crime scene. The police also stated, the main suspect was identified as Dendro Ponderosa, a modified name which has its roots in the Latin name Dendroctonus ponderosae, a mountain pine beetle and a remote relative of Dendro. The police published an appropriate mug shot of the suspect."
Reported by Formica Rufa