This is in continuation to the previous post about views of the Indian Testing Community on Schools of Testing. This post contains the outcome of the brainstorming sessions conducted in two organizations, namely McAfee Software (India) and Applabs Technologies. I will publish the names of the participants in the Thanks note for this series. I request the readers to take these views in a way healthier than ever. The people who have expressed their opinion mostly represent that part of Indian testing community, which is directly dealing with testing products or applications. So, I consider these as “Views-from-the-shop-floor“, which is essential for any subject. If you feel that the testers in your organization have a totally different view, I suggest that you conduct a similar session and share the views as comments herein, or publish them elsewhere and send me the URL. I will edit the post to include those views.
As the concept was new to most of the people, who were a part of the brainstorming sessions, I introduced the concept in the first few minutes. I took care that I am neither selling the concept nor rebuking it. It was just an introduction. I was physically present in only one of these sessions, which was conducted at McAfee Software (India). For the second session, which was conducted at Applabs Technologies, I discussed in decent detail with the moderator of the session about the points to be introduced.
I have categorized the views into an easy to read Q/A session format, by compiling different aspects that were touched in the sessions. The questions are either directly related to the concept of schools of testing or to the basis of division into schools.
What’s the practical value of the concept of ‘Schools of Testing’?
The ‘Schools of Testing’ concept has no practical value for the testing practitioners. Most of them expressed that they had not known the concept earlier. Now, having known about it, the situation still remains the same. It won’t impact the way they work, they do not even bother to think that while testing, what kind of school they are exhibiting.
Are you able to categorize yourself into a particular school?
All schools have some desirable features. So, saying that if one belongs to a particular school will deprive him or her of some good features of the other schools. And if one says that he is basically from one school but puts so and so features of other schools into use as well, goes against the punch line of most of the advocates of schools of testing – “One can not belong to multiple schools”.
Do you believe in the existence of ‘Best Practices’?
Most of the participants answered that there are some practices which are helpful as per historical statistics and can be employed with little risks. So, ‘Yes! There are best practices”. Or to be precise “There are practices, that even if are not the best, are very useful”. The key output of debate over this was that some practices are definitely useful and can be employed repetitively after evaluation of the current requirement. ‘Best Practices’ is a subjective term and the list of best practices varies from person to person.
How do you associate the present Indian testing scenario to schools of testing?
In the present scenario, one is left with little choice for choosing the way he or she tests. In most cases, one has to adjust to the way testing is going on in a particular organization. This is especially true for testers in the first few years of their career.
Should we document test cases?
It is desirable to document test cases. This way, we can reap the benefits of a combined knowledge pool, instead of starting afresh every time. This is especially true for iterative testing. Exploratory Testing in addition to scripted testing can do wonders. The test cases discovered during exploratory testing, can be made a part of the formal scripted testing, for the next cycle.
Should we automate testing?
Some tests can be done on time, only with automation. Example is Performance Testing. But this should not stop one to conduct manual tests as a part of exploratory testing or as a part of testing, which was not considered from automation.
What impact can the type of industry (product/services) have on views about the concept?
Type of industry impacts the way testing is done. Services industry goes for lot of processes and metrics to keep a track of testing. The number of iterations for testing o any application is not large in number, so manual testing becomes a choice many a times. For a product company, with frequent builds, automating test cases becomes a necessity. Also, mostly a product company will not go for quality processes implementation and people have more freedom to experiment w.r.t the way they test something.
What is the impact of the schedule of a project on the ‘schools’?
During the testing, we may belong to multiple schools. This depends upon the time that we are given to test a product. Suppose we are given ample time, we can follow all the processes and can be into Quality school. If we are not given much time, we can test only the major functionality and hence the context driven school. Suppose we are given more time to analyze the bugs that usually occurs in any project, we can make the development aware of these things and hence can help them to develop much better code. In this case we are in Agile school.
What is your general approach towards testing?
Most of the times, we do testing based on the context (situation). This is a common tendency of a tester and hence it can not be treated as a separate school at all. Even if we are in any school, most of the times we behave based on the context only. So, context based is a part of every school. Moreover, whatever one thinks, the way a testing project will be carried out will depend on lot of factors as discussed (I have consolidated those points purposefully prior to this question). So, what we suggest and what we have to do might be altogether different.
The above is a glimpse of what Indian Testing community thinks about Schools of Testing. As mentioned, you might have altogether different views. I encourage you to give an expression to your thoughts. You can leave your comments here or publish it elsewhere and send me the link.
The next post will summarize what has been discussed so far.
This is the tenth post in the series “The Big Fight – Schools of Testing”. For my previous posts on Schools of Testing, you can check the posts under the Schools of Testing Category.