Archive for the ‘Testing Skill Improvement’ Category

Skills of a Tester’s Skull

Understanding Skills

The first and foremost activity of Software Testing is to understand the requirements/ functionalities of the software to be tested. Formal Documents like Software Requirement Specifications, Software Functional Specifications, Use Case Specifications and other Documents like Minutes of Meeting serves as the key references for planning and executing the testing tasks. The testers must have very good understanding skills to read and understand the information written in these documents. Many a times, it is possible to have many interpretations for the information presented in the documents. The testers must be able to identify the duplicate & ambiguous requirements. If the requirements are not clear or ambiguous, the testers must identify the sources of the requirements and get them clarified. The sources of the requirements in most of the project development team should be Business Analysts, Business Users or any other competent authority as identified by the Project Management team. The testers shall analyze and co-relate the information gathered within the perspective of the project.

Listening Skills

Documents are not the only source of reference for the testing activities. The information required for the testing activities may be acquired through offline meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. The minutes of the meetings, conferences, seminars may or may not be recorded in a formal document. The testers must have very good active listening skills in order to collate and co-relate all of that information and refer them for the testing activities. While the requirements or functionalities of the software are discussed over a meeting, many a times, some part of the requirements are missed out. The testers should be able to identify and get them clarified before heading towards the subsequent testing phases.

Test Planning Skills

All software requirements shall be testable. The software shall be designed in such a way that all software requirements shall be testable. The test plan shall be formulated in such a way that paves the way for validating all the software requirements. In the real time scenario, there could be many requirements that are not testable. The tester with his/her test planning skills should be able to find out a workaround to test those non-testable requirements. If there is no way to test them, that shall be communicated clearly to the appropriate authority. There could be many requirements that are very complex to test and the tester should be able to identify the best approach to test them.

Test Design Skills

Software Testing Science preaches many techniques like Equivalence Class Partitioning, Boundary Value Analysis, Orthogonal Array and many more techniques for an effective test design. The testers shall be aware of all those techniques and apply them into their software test designing practice. The tester shall be aware of various formats and templates to author and present the test cases or test procedures in a neat fashion. The tester shall aware of the best practices and the acceptable standards for designing the test cases. The tester shall be aware of the how to write test cases – non-ambiguous, simple, straight to the point.

The test case needs to contain Test Case Description, Test Steps and its corresponding expected results. The tester shall be aware of how to present the content in these three topics effectively in such a way that they can be read without any ambiguity by all the project stakeholders.

Test Execution Skills

Test Execution is nothing but executing the steps that is specified in the test design documents. During the execution, the testers shall capture the actual results and compare against the expected results specified in the test design documents. If there are any deviations between the expected and actual results, the testers shall consider that as a defect. The tester shall analyze the cause of the defect and if it is found and confirmed in the application under test, the same shall be communicated to the developers and it shall get fixed. If the cause of the defect is found with the test case, the same shall be communicated to the test designers and the test cases shall be modified/ amended accordingly. If the testers are not confident about the application functionalities and the test design documents, they may not confidently come to a conclusion about the defect in case of any discrepancies. This will lead to defects being leaked to the next phase and the testers needs to avoid this scenario. The testers shall be confident about the application functionalities and in case of any ambiguity or clarifications; they need to get them sorted out before executing the tests or at least during the test execution.

Defect Reporting Skills

Defect Reports are one of the critical deliverables from a tester. The defect reports are viewed by the development team, business analysts, project managers, technical managers and the quality assurance engineers along with the testers. Hence, the defect reports shall carry enough information about the defect. Steps to reproduce the defect, its expected result and actual result along with other information such as Severity, Priority, Assigned To (developer), Test Environment details are very critical for a defect report without which, the defect report is considered as incomplete. The tester shall be aware of the importance of the defect report and he/she shall create defect report in such a way that it is non-ambiguous. During the course of fixing the defect, the developers may come back to the testing team for more information regarding the defect and the tester shall provide the same without failing.

Test Automation Skills

Test Automation is a wonderful phenomenon by which the testing cost is drastically reduced. The manual test cases upon automation can be executed by running the automated test scripts. This means that the manual effort to run those automated test cases is not necessary and hence the total test effort is reduced drastically. The testers shall be aware of the technique for adopting test automation into the current testing process. Identifying the test automation candidates is very critical for the success of the automation project. Automation candidates shall be identified in such a way that the testing cost towards manual test execution would reduce significantly. This involves lots of thoughts from the financial perspective as well. The testers shall understand the process of do’s & don’ts of automation to make the automation project successful.


The testers shall understand/ learn and be confident about the application functionalities. Test planning, designing, execution and defect reporting are the basic and essential skills that a tester shall possess and develop in his day-to-day career. Professionals who are perfectionist in using these skills are called as “Testing Professionals” or “Testers” or “Testing Engineers”. Hope now, you are a tester…

How to find a bug in application? Tips and Tricks

March 14, 2008 Comments off

very good and important point. Right? If you are a software tester or a QA engineer then you must be thinking every minute to find a bug in an application. And you should be!I think finding a blocker bug like any system crash is often rewarding! No I don’t think like that. You should try to find out the bugs that are most difficult to find and those always misleads users.


Finding such a subtle bugs is most challenging work and it gives you satisfaction of your work. Also it should be rewarded by seniors. I will share my experience of one such subtle bug that was not only difficult to catch but was difficult to reproduce also.
I was testing one module from my search engine project. I do most of the activities of this project manually as it is a bit complex to automate. That module consist of traffic and revenue stats of different affiliates and advertisers. So testing such a reports is always a difficult task. When I tested this report it was showing the data accurately processed for some time but when tried to test again after some time it was showing misleading results. It was strange and confusing to see the results.

There was a cron (cron is a automated script that runs after specified time or condition) to process the log files and update the database. Such multiple crons are running on log files and DB to synchronize the total data. There were two crons running on one table with some time intervals. There was a column in table that was getting overwritten by other cron making some data inconsistency. It took us long time to figure out the problem due to the vast DB processes and different crons.

My point is try to find out the hidden bugs in the system that might occur for special conditions and causes strong impact on the system. You can find such a bugs with some tips and tricks.

So what are those tips:

1) Understand the whole application or module in depth before starting the testing.

2) Prepare good test cases before start to testing. I mean give stress on the functional test cases which includes major risk of the application.

3) Create a sufficient test data before tests, this data set include the test case conditions and also the database records if you are going to test DB related application.

4) Perform repeated tests with different test environment.

5) Try to find out the result pattern and then compare your results with those patterns.

6) When you think that you have completed most of the test conditions and when you think you are tired somewhat then do some monkey testing.

7) Use your previous test data pattern to analyse the current set of tests.

 Try some standard test cases for which you found the bugs in some different application. Like if you are testing input text box try inserting some html tags as the inputs and see the output on display page.

9) Last and the best trick is try very hard to find the bug  As if you are testing only to break the application!

I will include more tips in some coming posts.

Meantime you can comment out more tips here.

Soft Skill for testers

Have you been facing problems in interviews? Do you fear to deliver any speech? Do you hesitate to speak in your company meeting? Do you have problems explaining your views to others? Do others disagree with you even though you are right?

If answers to these questions are ‘yes’ then it’s time to improve your communication skill. You should be perfect in all ways of communications like verbal, presentation skill and written communication.


Poor communication generally leads to disagreement and misunderstandings. Even in romantic relationship if you are poor at communication, chances are high that you will break up with your boy friend or girl friend.

Good communication skill is a must for software testers. You might have seen this line in every job requirements especially openings in QA and testing field. As testers require communicating with different project team members including clients, communication skill plays important role. If you want to win the arguments (I mean arguments that are right) and find the common solution for your problems with your subordinates then you should be able to express your views effectively.

As a part of ’soft skills for testers’ article series I am sharing detailed power point presentation on “How to improve communication skill”.

Keep in mind these simple rules for effective communication:

  • Listen carefully when others are clarifying their thoughts. Don’t interrupt others in-between.
  • Do not speak too fast. Slow down while speaking.
  • Speak clearly. Your pronunciation should be loud and clear.
  • Make eye contact with whom you are speaking. This increases chances of mutual agreement.
  • Read, read and read. For better communication and effective words in your speech your vocabulary should be very strong. Reading more and more will increase your vocabulary.

Besides these 5 golden rules for effective communication here is PPT presentation on improving your communication skill.

Main topics covered in this PPT:
1) What makes a good communicator?
2) Process of communication
3) Active listening
4) Using non-verbal communication effectively
5) Presentation skill while appearing for an interview.