Did you test it long enough?

At the beginning of this year I was in a restaurant. It was possible to buy a drink. So the software, which took care for the supply, was good. Also the training of the people was good, because I bought more than I intended to. There was one problem: how can I empty the bottle with this straw? My first thought was: did you test it long enough? As a tester I have heard many variations: What were you testing? How did you spend your time? Or did you pay attention during testing?

The sound of nuisance

At eleven o’clock in the morning George joined the meeting of the software testers.

“Good morning. My name is George. Your boss asked me to help you. I know a lot about software testing, but not much about cars. “
“Hi George, my name is Jack. At the moment I have an important problem with the tires of sold cars. The tires wear off faster than it was the case with the previous models. So car dealers began calling to the head office. And my boss got the question: “Did you test it long enough?”“

George looked confused: “What is the relationship between tires and software? “
“Nowadays everything is computerized. The automated suspension takes care for a comfortable ride, so not every stone in the road is felt by the passengers. There is something wrong in the software of the suspension. We were able to pinpoint the problem: it is the combination of a wet surface and steep road. “

“What did you do with this information?”
“I went to my boss and I explained the problem. Up till now the suspension software was one of the most reliable parts of the system, so it was not tested intensively. We tested the cars on a wet flat road and a dry steep road. We did not test the on a wet and steep road, because time is money. “

“What was your answer on the question, whether you tested it long enough? “
“I told that at the end of the test all criteria were discussed in depth. Every stakeholder was involved. At that moment it was the best decision we could take. Furthermore I suggested to change the criteria for the suspension software. He agreed with me on the spot.”

´Why did you change the criteria?”
“Because the tires wore off.”
“What you are actually saying, is:
“I wait, until something unpleasant happens. Then I change the criteria.”“
“That’s right.”
“Is there a way to change the criteria before testing? “
“Sure, I checked the release notes beforehand. I noticed, that some components had been changed. But the functionality was basically the same. “
“Did you determine the impact of the changes of the components?”
“No, because the quality of the software was good and the functionality did not change.”
“The supplier probably did some refactoring. So the basic questions you should pose as a tester are: What did you change? and how can I test it? Then you can determine, whether the criteria must be adjusted and extra tests must be added.”

Sound check (and other interesting things in other backyards)

Xoun is a strange brand name to pronounce. The question is, whether this sounds right to shopping people. If you turn the picture upside down, you will read a known brand name in the Netherlands. (Which I associate with a mug with welcome warm soup after hours of sailing on the lakes in Friesland.) By taking a different view some things might need more attention than you might expect. In this article I will tell about three situations, in which non IT related information can be helpful for an IT engineer.

Granting a small favour

In the nineties my customer planned in a special activity to introduce internet to his employees. So I ended up talking with a woman from the legal department. She stated, that shipping information should always be mentioned. It would save her department and company a lot of time and money.

A few weeks later it was time for my courtesy call. I called the lady from the legal department. After a short introduction I came to the point: “I just discovered, that your company is selling products on the internet. I could not find the shipping information.” A silence followed, so I had to repeat the message. A muffled “Thank you” followed. A few days later the web shop was off line.

In case of surprise

A special meeting was planned and the project manager was constantly talking about Rbbit. After a while I figured out, that the Rbbit was not a nice white fluffy animal appearing in the magician’s hat, but a Big Bug in the software system. “Two weeks ago we had a Rbbit. Last week we had a Rbbit. What do you expect for next week?” I answered, that another Big Bug would show up. “What are we going to do?”. I spoke up again: “I would set up an emergency procedure.” The project manager was not pleased with the answer: “Do you expect, that I will restore the complete database?”

“If wrong information is sent to the customers, then a new mail must be sent to them, that they should ignore the information in the sent mail. You could also add information, when the right information will be sent. The next step is to investigate and solve the problem.” The project manager finally agreed: he needed phone numbers of people in the operations department and operational measures.

What’s it in for them?

As a software tester it is very tempting to use different plug ins in your browser to analyse web sites. During one of my trials I encountered a tool, which provided me much information. I did not understand, why the tool was given away for free. The web site for the plug in tool was basically stressing the benefits. At that moment I was doubtful, whether I had installed malware.

After more extensive searches on the web I discovered a related business web site, which offered information about websites. This information was gathered by users using the above mentioned plug in. So the business model was as follows: determine, which information is useful for IT people. Provide a free tool for collecting information and sell the gathered information with a nice profit.