Monday, October 8, 2018

Banksy was here

Sotheby's in London has auctioned off a framed version of Banksy's iconographic subject "Girl With Balloon" for over 1 million pounds.When the final bid was made, the big surprise came. Suddenly the screen moved down and the picture was destroyed by a shredder built into the picture frame. Right after the surprise, the anonymous artist had published a video detailing how he installed a shredder into the frame.

The disturbing part of this story is that this picture has probably gained even more fame through this action and thus very likely becomes more coveted although shred in pieces; volitional or not, Sotheby's to be in the known or not, the buyer well-informed or not....who knows.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Birds love BUGS

Here are the stats. I raised 2500 bugs in 12 years, then moved to a company where I raised a thousand bugs in only 19 months.
Presuming that a typical year has 252 working days, this gives me rate of 2.5 bugs per day or 12 per week (compared to an average 0.8 per day or 4 per week during the last 12 years).

That means the rate of identified defects has increased by the factor of 3.

What do these numbers tell about me, the software-under-test, the company and what does it tell about the developers who introduce these bugs?
Do these numbers really have any meaning at all? Are we allowed to draw a conlusion based on these numbers? We don't know which of these bugs were high priority, which ones weren't. We don't know which bugs are duplicated, false alarm and which of those look rather like they should have raised as a change request.
We also don't know what is the philosophy in the team. Do we raise any anomaly we see or do we first talk to developers and fix it together before the issues make it into a bug reporting system. Do we know how many developers are working in the team? How many of them work really 100% in the team or less, sporadically, etc...Also, does management measure the team by the number of bugs introduced, detected, solved or completed user-stories, etc.? May the high number of identified issues be a direct effect of better tester training or are the developers struggling with impediments they can/cannot be held responsible for and these bugs are just a logical consequence of these impediments? Are there developers who introduce more bugs than others?

As is with these numbers, they are important, but they serve only as a basis for further investigation. It's too tempting to use these numbers as is and then draw one's one conclusions without questioning the numbers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Checking the Cloud

...or "Hi, just wanted to see how my data looks like in the cloud".

and here how the first draft looked like...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Welcome to Weirdo-Land

I just wanted to draw an oldtimer Porsche Speedster 356 of the Fifties. Usually I am less addicted to sports cars, but this one is an exception. I watched an interesting report by Jay Leno about a 356 replica bulit by JPS Motorsports and since then can't take my eyes off it.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Baffled sequenceIDs

Sorry folks, Insider. I don't know how I can better generalize the cartoon so it is also funny for those who haven't experienced our exciting moments we had with our love-hate relationship-sequence IDs. The counter was reset after each deployment. It resulted in duplicate numbering, hence kept us busy hunting for ghost bugs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

No undo in the elevator

A nice test pattern to apply while testing software, is to revert all changes performed on one object or more, either by sending the keys CTRL-Z as often as possible or by using any other provided cancel/revert/undo operation if it exists. An interesting observation for me still is the fact that until this day, I had never been in an elevator that provided the possibility to cancel your choice on pressed buttons... resulting in the experience of real "pain".

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Ready to take off - or good enough to go live?

Many, many years back, when I drew the first version of the cartoon on a draft piece of paper, I was inspired by an email sent out to everyone claiming the software is good enough to go live although the software never went through proper testing. Only "A." had tested it; and since A was such a great techie we were feeling quite comfortable if he had looked into it. This attitude had established more and more until we forgot to deliberating on the fact that even for "A." it was simply not possible to deal with all those increasing bugs showing up at customers. We had to change our mindset to simply rely on exploratory testing only, and therefore set-up a team that performed a more planned approach in testing the software. This included a study of all varying characteristics of the different customer's most important workflows, and it resulted on testing these workflows with the goal to mitigate the risk these workflows are broken in the next release.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A lesson in Test Patterns

I recently had a workshop at the SwissQ offices in Zurich about common test patterns and how I am looking for bugs. I showed a draft of this cartoon, and this was the only moment where they were really laughing out I thought it might be worth finalizing the cartoon and publish it.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Unequal conditions

I created this cartoon on behalf of Tennisclub Augst for their regular published small brochure. The more I look at it, the more I realize the interesting analogy it bears to completely different areas far outside of simple Tennis scenarios.

Friday, February 16, 2018

125000 clicks

We made it Yogi! I cannot believe that in these days I see 125000 of total and real clicks on my cartoon blog. Not enough to get famous (not my goal) but also not so few to get ignored..., thanX a lot for watching this blog.

I am especially happy having succeeded in banishing all requests to publish advertisment on this blog. I hope I can keep this for yet a long time.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Mocking the Driver

Inspired by Tesla who "uploaded" their first car into space on Febrary 6, 2018. I haven't searched for any Tesla cartoons yet, but I guess there must be hundreds of similar ones around already. By purpose I didn't look for them, so I could fully concentrate on mine and not risk to accidentially copy someone else's idea. The picture of the moon is real and I shot it 2014 with my Russian telescope MTO 1000.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Squares, Bowls and Triangles

I never forget the speech of a Google test engineer many years back, when he started with a slide that showed nothing but just all red colors. He took a chair and sat near the audience watching the wall together with us and said nothing. After quite a while he stopped the pondering silence and stated: "one gets used to red colors if you only stare long enough to it".

The point he was making here was to never accept your test scripts to report failures for too long. You should immediately address newly introduced bugs and fix those. If you wait too long, more and more tests may go wrong until very soon, you don't get alerted anymore when new tests fail. It may become a normal situation for your tests to fail. This is not only true for automated testing. It applies the same way to manual testing. If you get used to all the flaws and error messages an SUT (software-under-test) reveals, it is just a question of time until you arrange with it.

You don't see these things anymore after a while until someone with fresh eyes points you to all these known but weird things happening on your screen. You may then realize that you may have been reeducated softly. Ask yourself whether you still wear the hat of a customer or have you already turned from a quality focused engineer to an ignorant which - almost in trance - automatically clicks away all the noise. You may explain to yourself that these are all known issues reported in the past and someone will care about sooner or later. Really? Reality shows that these issues are long forgotten; although saved, but in a deep ocean called backlog where none can or wants to touch them anymore. If a bug sits in the backlog for a while, the likelihood for it to die increases. If a bug hasn't been fixed till now, it probably isn't important enough to care about.

Quite some time ago, when I realized that, me too, was just about to get used to quirks, exceptions and error messages, that pop-up like huge bubbles created by a hunting whale, I communicated my perception to the team and it was a shock when I noticed that others seem to have already "fallen in love " with all this puzzle of inconsistency.

As a result I asked myself, do I allow to adopt the attitude of the squares, or am I an ignorant bowl unable to accept things may be seen differently or am I currently just a triangle who struggles to take a decision.  I think I need a therapy... =;O)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Aspiring killer bugs

My relationship to bugs is two-folded, actually it is a love-hate relationship. I hate 'em because they nest everywhere. There are places where you definitely don't want to have them, regardless whether you like to hunt bugs or not. Even an enthusiastic software tester doesn't like to see creatures in production turning customer's lifes into nightmare. But fact is, there is no space in software where there isn't enough potential for bugs hiding until they take their chance and show their ugly grimace. They are like cockroaches. Even if you think you have destroyed them all, there is always a few left.

But of course I also love these little virtual critters. Without bugs I had no job, or let's phrase is a little less dramatic; I'd probably had a different job and not such a great time putting them on paper.

Not all bugs cause headaches, but some actually do. Even the less dangerous ones can be a pain if they they show up in a pack. The job of a professional tester is to find as much of the critical ones as possible. That means, you have to study them; you need to understand where they "live" and and how they develop. Bugs aren't clever (at least the software bugs) but they use every tiny little whole you don't carburize.  Some wholes are so small that you can hardly see them until the bugs crawl out and make your program crash or behave in a very unexpected way. Often, you need to apply good techniques that make bugs sell themselves out because you wouldn't find them otherwise.

People with little to no dedication making software a great user-experience will not only miss important bugs, they also make a whole team look bad in front of a paying customer.
The job is by far not done if you simply compare deliverables from software developers with incomplete acceptance critieria defined in user-stories.

One great technique to find bugs is to apply test patterns when you investigate a feature. You probably cannot apply all test patterns to every feature, because some don't make sense depending on the context, but if you continously test with a checklist in mind, you will soon realize how much more there is to discover behind an innocent looking user-story.

Test patterns are described in many books. James Bach talks about testing heuristics, James Whittaker walks through a software like a tourist in a foreign country. The book "Lessons Learnt in Software Testing" by Cem Kaner, James Bach and Bret Pettichord is a great source of information to help you develop great testing ideas. If you take testing seriously, you have probably already developed your own set of test patterns, sprout from past mistakes, observations, experiences or lessons learnt from other testers and hopefully you have further developed those patterns, so your detection rate further increases. The list will never be completed but getting better and better.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Knowing your dress size

This is one of a rare cartoon where its root is not from a software testing happening but rather developed from a colleague who missed his jacket. He sent an email to everyone asking who might have taken it.
It later turned out it was Jon (anonymized) who accidentally took it, but seemed not to realize this jacket was far too big for him. His height was quite a bit different from the owner’s.

The cartoon is a metaphor on what happens sometimes when companies start introducing UI test automation. You buy an expensive tool only to find out, what you want to automate is not supported or requires expensive add-ons. At the worst, one needs to hire experts to develop extensions, so the tool works well with the AUT (application-under-test). Of course, these extensions need maintenance and maintenance is seldom for free. I am not starting a debate about what's best, open source or off-the shelf. This answer can only be given in a context which we don't have here. But I strongly believe that it’s no bad practice to first start with a cheap or an open-source solution which fits your current "dress size" and which lets you experiment, and develop more specific ideas to learn better what you really need. Having enough time to explore helps you narrow down your requirements catalogue. You are growing with the experience you make and after a while you may end up realizing the current "jacket" no longer fits or needs some boosters. It may also be the right moment to restart the tool evaluation and look for a more suitable "jacket" that fits your new dress size, but at least you do this now with a more specific background - which is knowing your dress size.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Bug or Feature?

Except from the text, the cartoon is not really my own invention, since there are plenty of VW Beetle pictures in the web showing a license tag with the letters "FEATURE", but it gave me finally the opportunity to raise a "monument" for my beloved old Volvo Amazon which unfortunately I don't have anymore.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Life as a Software Tester

I keep telling people that I have more talent to break things than to actually build things, since, whatever I touch breaks apart or results in another nice story that I can convert into a new cartoon published on this blog.
But honestly, I hope this is just a funny myth since I also built things successfully that are used by a large group of people worldwide. Maybe I just look at things a little bit differently. I love the speaches, articles and books of James Whittaker, Dorothy Graham, Johnathan Kohl and many many more; I am hungry to learn from them on a continuous basis and apply some of these techniques to my daily work with pleasure. Even at home I keep myself busy with software testing matters whenever the time allows me to. This is what the cartoon expresses here.

It all started more than 20 years ago with test automation, developing and running automated UI and B2B tests, using tools such as Rational Robot, SOAPUI, InCisif, WatiN, Selenium (and my team also used Ranorex), integrated in CI with Jenkins and I totally love home-brew solutions developed in C# like the recently newborn keyword driven test automation framework which is (at least for me) the next generation of another great Excel based test automation tool we used at an earlier company. Why C#? Sorry, - I am not a Microsoft advocate but MS Visual Studio is simply one of the best IDEs I have ever seen.

I also love tools like PerlClip, AllPairs, KDIFF3. I love to test through the side-door and last but not least...

I love to draw cartoons about software testing, my way of expressing weird experiences into something more exhilarant.