Re: Advice on software testing?

Subject: Re: Advice on software testing?
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 13:14:46 -0400

Not really true. I may see a bug, but understand that it results from a bad design decision that I had previously not noticed. "You show 'completed' in yellow and 'important' in gold. Are you aware that those who have only 8-bit color (and that fortunately includes two of the test team) see those colors as the same? Can we be certain that none of the customers have 8-bit color? Is it too late to change the colors?" [And I've not even gotten to colorblindness and how to design for it.]

The "obvious" response (which I have seen in a similar situation) is "Get the testers some equipment that's more modern," while the correct action is to expand the design requirements to capture an inventory of actual customer equipment or else to require the customers comply with the new standard (explained in the _documentation_).

So if I report a bug, it is perfectly valid for me to state any of these observations and indeed several others:
(1) Fails the test, as described [here].
(2) Nominally passes the test, but fails perceived usability [and why].
(3) Passes the test, but the standards are set incorrectly, leading to a failure of a later test.
(4) The test is broken, failing to show failure.
(5) Everything passes, but so marginally that I'm worried.
(6) The product's code appears to contain paths that are either untestable or unreachable.

With sufficient detail of reporting the tester can still continue to leave the ship/don't-ship to others unless asked. "Number of bugs" is normally an insufficient criterion. "Number of blocking bugs" usually is, and the tester may correctly be required to identify potentially blocking bugs as such.

An additional testing problem that can arise is the bug newly discovered in a section of the product that was not changed. That can generate a lot of finger-pointing. "Why didn't you find it before?" "What part of the test did you change?" "Did we sneak in the new version of the xx library by mistake?"

Battles between testers and developers are common. "It's NOT a bug. Read the design specs." "Yes it is. It fails to work with Internet Explorer." "Then that's a bug in IE, not the product." "But the customers use it with IE!"

On Wed, 10 Aug 2011 12:07:41 -0400, Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com> wrote:

Not sure what "position" can a tester have on a bug, other than, "The
bug exists, and here are the ramifications."

The tester's report should be read by those deciding whether or not the
product can be shipped. But the tester (and the report) can remain
neutral on the decision itself.
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References:
Advice on software testing?: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Advice on software testing?: From: Dana Worley (MVP/JB)
RE: Advice on software testing?: From: Dan Goldstein

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