Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I did like Michael Bolton did…

After talking to Micheal Bolton over a really nice dinner together with some of my closes test colleagues and reading his blog post ( I did the same thing as him, for lets call her “Maria”.

Maria is frustrated over the frequent deliveries that they do. The test team have to do the same things over and over again for every release; prepare for test run, update environments, run a set up of automated test suits and manual suits as regression test. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for Exploratory testing, good bug investigation or deep testing to find new bugs. It’s also kind of boring with such a repetitive way of working. To get a good overview, a grid like the one Michael Bolton wrote about was used and then another one showing what it could look like if the cycles were every second week instead of every day.

   M = Meetings
   Div = Misc
   P = Preparation
   S = Set up test environment 
   T = Execute scripted tests, incl bug investigation
   ET = Exploratory testing
   R = Test report


What a typical month looks like today, with daily deliveries (1 square = 1 hour):

Over one week is spent every month to just update environments!

And almost 2 weeks are spent to test the same things over and over again… and we all know that regression test isn’t the best way of catching bugs.


This is what it could look like with delivery every second week:

This sure looks like a more fun way of working for a tester.

I’m not saying the daily deliveries are wrong. There are reasons for why organizations do that. I’m also not saying the testing is bad. The testing is done risk based and the most critical issues are caught. My point is that by making it more visual it can be easier to understand the price for doing frequent deliveries. One may reconsider this decision when it’s so obvious what the cost is. I would also like to add that the best solution might not be to stop doing frequent deliveries but to automate the whole testing process (including update test environment).


This is a very easy way of visualizing what you spend your time on. It only takes a couple of minutes to do and it only takes a couple of seconds for your stakeholders to understand.



Linda’s lightning talk at Öredev 2012


28 minutes in you can see Linda talk about test reports.




Öredev 2012

I will do a short lighting talk at Öredev next week. I will talk about test reports that actually bring value.



2 hours + 2 persons ==> 15 bugs

I tried a couple of ways of doing “testing days” or really focused testing sessions. The common denominator might be that testing should be done really focused under a short time period. Administration and planning are done to a minimum and bug reports is often enough as documentation once the testing is done. The expectations are usually that a lot of issues will be found that the usual, often requirement focused testing with few testing opportunities, won’t find. Let’s leave this for now… what I want to write about is that I’m starting to find a way of doing this that I really like.

In my example I will tell you how I and one other person (a project leader) did one of these testing sessions. We tested an application, available for both Android and Iphone, which I knew almost nothing about. Let’s call the application “AppX”. What I will show you below is what we did but I changed it a bit to anonymise the application.


We spent 2 hours like this:

  • 15 min test planning
  • 1h 25 min testing
  • 20 min test reporting


The goal was to test as much as possible and to find as many critical bugs as possible. All testing should be visualized as much as possible, in test logs, notes, pictures etc.

The result was 15 new bugs and this is what it looked like:


What we did?


The notation I used:


I really like this way of working. Why don’t you try it!?!



Not only features


Software testing is not only about verifying functions. A system is so much more than functions, if it’s suppose to be useful anyway. The system has to live in a context and in a world with many different users with many different needs and behaviors.


There are many stakeholders, not only the end users. All these stakeholders have different requirements and wishes for what the system should handle or support. It can be deliverables or qualities that must be in the system to make it possible for these people to do their job. For example, if an operating technician should be able to maintain a good level of security there must be routines and support for back up. Taking new back up and restoring an old back up just have to work. These things are crucial for an operating technician while the market department hasn’t dedicated this even the slightest thought. The market department on the other hand, might be anxious about the coolness of what is delivered in the next version, so they can beat the market by surprise in their next press release. Yes, there are many different stakeholders and many different wishes.

Example of stakeholders and their requirements/wishes


How do we do to cover more than just functions?


First of all I think we have to look beyond requirements specifications, meet all the different stakeholders and discuss what’s important for them. There is a lot of support in lists of test types like performance test, load test, usability test, installation test etc. Collect a list of your own, with suitable test types and go through them for every project to determine which applies for the test object. My list, of absolutely necessary test types that should be included in almost every project, is:


–          Functional test

–          Usability test

–          Platform test

–          Security test

–          Access level testing

–          Performance test

–          Stress test

–          Stability test

–          Installation test

–          Recovery test

–          Storage test

–          Volume test


There might be other types of test that can be applicable depending on the project and system under test. There might also be the opposite, several of the test types mentioned above might not be applicable or require very little effort. Often this is related to time and money but also what is valuable to test. But, just by discussing an area you have lifted up the different qualities and then the project can make a decision whether the area should be tested or not.


When you come to the point where you have identified all stakeholders and their requirements and whishes, you probably have an enormous amount of work before you. To cover all is impossible and most likely not meaningful. Therefore, your next task, possibly even more difficult, is to prioritize. Whose requirements are the most important? We can look deeply into this but the thing I think is the most significant is to make sure you communicate a lot with all stakeholders.


Someone whose list is very long and full of details is Rikard Edgren. The last time I listened to him his list was 77 test ideas long. See


What does your list look like?

What smart test types do you have in mind and which to you think is absolutely necessary for most systems/projects?



Tester, coach and comfort buddy! The full package deal.

Once upon a time there was this company who struggled with a poorly built system. Every day the users got more and more annoyed on the bad interface. One day enough was enough and the kind boss asked a prominent consultant to build them a new system. The developer consultant arrived with his shiny laptop and started working. It was not long before the consultant started to struggle. The environment and business logic turned out to be a lot more complex than he predicted and none from the company side could give him any straight answers on how things should work. After many weeks of swift coding the system was ready for the users to test. And once again the consultant was faced with the users’ unavailability.

It was time to call in a tester. The humble tester arrives and is quickly introduced to the system and the users. Only two weeks left until deployment and no tests run, the tester decided to use the users as testers. One by one the users were booked for an hour each. The tester arrives to the meeting with a few bullets that needs to be tested and tell the users to use real data when testing. The users slowly start to familiarize themselves with the system and a lot of feedback is recorded by the tester.

The developer is happy to finally receive feedback.

The kind boss is happy the quality will be improved.

The users are happy that their opinions are raised.

The tester is happy that the system has been tested, the users introduced to the system through coaching and that everyone now seems comforted that this new system will save their day.

I doubt 200 test cases could have done a better job in this case.



Need some fun? Looking for some fun?

Do you need something fun for your test conference or need to cheer up your test team?


We are looking for new oppertunities to perform the “The Supertester – A Slightly True Story”.


The Supertester – A slightly true story” is a theater performance where we try to mix serious test issues and common prejudices with laughs. We will take the roles and personalities of project managers, testers and super heroes to a new level. We will use prejudice and radical opinions in our effort to entertain and inspire.

You will meet the project manager who blame the test department for everything that goes wrong. The project manager loves all the new and cool development methods. He is not making it easy for the poor shy little company tester who lost the last shred of self confidence the first day at work. Can she be saved by the magnificent Supertester and once again be restored to a strong tester who stand up for her profession? Will the powers of the Supertester be enough to save the organisation?


Join us in a twisted but still slightly true world of testing.


You can read more about the show under The Show.

If you are interested don’t hesitate to contact us at linda.hoff (at) or anna.o.hoff (at)



Agile vs Waterfall

Is agile better than waterfall? Or is waterfall better than agile?

Well, it depends!

It depends on your organisation, your staff, your product, your previous methods and processes. If you are happy with your waterfall projects today, why change? If you already are efficient and have high quality, why change? Don’t try to squeeze Scrum into your organization just because you think it is cool and the only way of having fun at the same time as you are really efficient.

And before you dismiss Scrum and Agile be sure you really tried the true Scrum/agile. The Supertester has heard people say things like “We have adopted Scrum to our organisation by taking parts of Scrum. But Scrum is really frustrating and it doesn’t work for us testers.” How can this person know that Scrum doesn’t work when he/she haven’t tried Scrum the way it should be?!

There are pros and cons with both agile and waterfall. Please be open minded and try to see the whole picture!

The supertester couldn’t agree more:

Lisa Crispin on YouTube, Agile vs Waterfall

Hello world!

Welcome to The !

As a result of all the wonderful feedback we have received in connection to our presentation, The Supertester – A slightly true story, we have decided to take the next step. And what would be better than a blog/web site of our own 🙂

We hope you will enjoy

Our ambition is to post something new on regular basis but perhaps not everyday! The subjects will be diverse and hopefully interesting. We urge you to comment and hopefully we will se some constructive discussions. Maybe you can help us find answers to our many questions.