Bug in the BSNL Portal

Posted August 10, 2007 by Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi
Categories: Bug Tracking, Lessons Learned, Software Development, Software Testing, Technology, Test Documentation, Thinking like a Tester, Thoughts

Today, i have come across an interesting issue with BSNL Portal. I have been using this site for online billing and payments for about an year.

Followed the usual steps and my objective is too see the bill and pay it online. To my surprise, the system says

This error message ” Invalid object name ‘RECEIPT_MASTER’ “ is strange and there is no information for me on how do i proceed further. The application might be unable to get the specified object from the Database.

In case if this happens on the last day of the payment, on line users are liable for late payment charges due to this issue.

Users are familiar with the messages like, Unable to process the information as of now & please check back after some time.

The error messages must be meaningful to the business users and we need to make sure that the technology related terms / phrases are not part of the same.

Happy Testing…

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Context driven information for Bug Reports

Posted July 26, 2007 by Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi
Categories: Bug Tracking, Lessons Learned, Metrics, Project Management, Quality Assurance, Software Metrics, Software Testing, Technical Support, Technology, Test Documentation, Test Management, Test Methodologies, Test Metrics, Test Strategy, Thinking like a Tester, Thoughts

Context driven information is the need of the hour and there is a huge value associated with the same. It’s good to capture the context driven information in the bug reports. My initial experiences with bug reports way back in early 2000 have taught many lessons to improve upon.

Bug reports used to capture what is the problem with the system familiar to the user (tester) who reported the same. People spend very less time to capture all the details required and there are many reasons for the same. I hope some of the upcoming testers will also be in the similar situations.

Some of the Reasons people quote here

  • We need to test more and less time to capture & write more information in the Bug Reports
  • It’s tough to capture all the information required
  • System is complex & It’s tough for the novice users to understand the bug reports
  • You know capturing all the info is process driven & it may not be worth of efforts
  • It some times boring activity to collate the info & push it
  • I can reproduce it on my machine if developer needs it.

This list can go on…

I hope you have come across this situation at least once in your career.

This is my third post in the Bug Life Cycle Series and it’s good to know the different users of your Bugs and their context with them. The mission of your bug report is to provide details and context of the problem and convey the importance of it with a user driven stories.

Your bug report must be the voice of customer and it need play the role of an advocate against the problem. Bug Advocacy from Cem Kaner is an excellent source to begin with. If the bug report unable to specify the need of the context, then it’s better not to write any report

It’s good to explore & capture some of the following problems

  • Productivity
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Migration
  • Stability etc

Try to link your issues with most suited functions listed above. It may not be obvious to other users in the system to explore & analyze the issues in that fashion.

There is another context associated with Bug Reports. That’s with the stake holders of the project. The Bug Tracking system must give the right trends and identify the hot spots. Testers must capture the right kind of data to derive better valuable metrics over the bug repository.

Care must be taken to capture

  • Capture all the Test Environment details
  • Detailed classification on the feature. Classify to the maximum possible sub feature/component of the system
  • Clarity on Severity & Priority
  • Versions and Build Numbers (Affected & Fixed)
  • Bug Classification (Requirements / Design / Implementation etc)
  • Bug Types (Functional, Performance, Usability, Security etc)
  • It can go on…

The above info helps a lot to identify the trends in bugs and focus on the unstable components / environments.

Final Thoughts
Push the entire context driven information to the bug repository at least for a release cycle and observe the results. Check back with your repository to identify the trends and risk associated with the release and I am sure that it will be in the similar lines of end user feedback.

Happy Testing…

Use Cyclomatic Complexity to determine the Risk and Test Scenarios

Posted July 19, 2007 by Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi
Categories: Code Based Testing, Code Coverage, Code Metrics, Lessons Learned, Programming, Project Management, Software Development, Software Metrics, Static Analysis, Test Management, Test Methodologies, Test Metrics, Test Strategy, Thinking like a Tester, Unit Testing

Cyclomatic Complexity (CC) is a software metric (mostly code based metric) used to the number of independent path executions in the application. Introduced by Thomas McCabe in 1976, it measures the number of linearly-independent paths through a program module.

It helps the developers to determine the independent path executions and base line unit tests that they need to validate. Using this, the developers can assure that all the paths have been tested atleast once. It’s a great comfort for the developer and their respective managers.

It’s better to write JUnit Tests for all these linearly-independent paths and integrate it with any code coverage tool. These reports help to focus more on the un covered paths and improve the code coverage.

It also helps to evaluate the risk associated with the application. The following are the results published by SEI and they are being followed widely to determine the health of the code base.

Cyclomatic Complexity      Risk Evaluation
1-10                                              A simple program, without much risk
11-20                                            More complex, moderate risk
21-50                                            Complex, high risk program
Greater than 50                          Un testable program (very high risk)

Explore more at Cyclomatic Complexity in Software Technology Roadmap from SEI.

Further Reading on the topic

Use metrics to evaluate the risk early in the cycle & improve your test coverage.

Happy Testting …

An insight into Bugs in the Software Applications

Posted July 6, 2007 by Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi
Categories: Articles, Bug Tracking, Lessons Learned, Quality Assurance, Software Testing, Technical Support, Test Methodologies, Test Strategy, Thinking like a Tester, Thoughts

Abstract:

Bugs are there every where in the software applications. Almost every one who uses software applications for their day to day activities; do come across different kind of problems while working with them.  Each of these problems has different meanings to different people on it. There are many instances where in which, we (as end users of the system) do feel that how come they missed this bug, it’s very important in this context (The context where in which the user operates).

Tester deals with Bugs every day and its good know about other people get affected with them. The list includes Customers, Stake Holders, Sales, Professional Services, Technical Support, Architecture & the Development team.

  

This is my second post in the Bug Life Cycle Series. Before going more into the Bugs and their life cycle, it’s good to know, what it means to different people across the software application. Based on the contexts, the same bug might mean different things to different people. Do go through Role of Software Testing to understand my mission about Software Testing.

Wikipedia defines Software Bug as the following

A software bug (or “bug”) is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program that prevents it from behaving as intended (e.g., producing an incorrect result). Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made by people in either a program’s source code or its design, and a few are caused by compilers producing incorrect code. A program that contains a large number of bugs, and/or bugs that seriously interfere with its functionality, is said to be buggy. Reports detailing bugs in a program are commonly known as bug reports, fault reports, problem reports, trouble reports, change requests, and so forth.

Tester Perspective

Any deviation from the expected results of the test case will be treated as a bug in the software application.

 

Customer Perspective

Customer uses the software application to solve his business needs. Any problem while modeling a solution to the business need will be considered as a bug in the software applications. These problems can be classified into two. They are the list of problems that they can live with and the other is the list of problems that need to be addressed to solve the business need.

The second list of problems will be sent to the vendors of the application for the fix. Some times, customer sends only the show stopper problems for his business. It’s true in the fact that as an end user, I will contact the vendor only if the problem is critical for me.

 

 

Technical Support Perspective

The Support Team classifies (though it’s critical) the customer requests into New Features, Enhancement, Bug, How to & Enquiries etc with respective severity levels. The decision will be taken by validating the problem with the features in the product.

 

Developer Perspective

The feature is designed this way and all the cases have passed. The end user might be using some other scenario. Yes, Some times there are bugs in my code. But it functions well if we use the way the application has built.

 

Management Perspective

Any problem with the application will be treated as Bug if it has impact over the revenue and customer satisfaction.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s tough to have same perspective across all the people (might happen in an ideal world). The bug for some one may not be the bug for the other person. However there are some set of show stopper bugs for which, the perspective will be the same.

Life Beyond Code

Posted July 4, 2007 by Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi
Categories: Books, Lessons Learned, Life, Personal, Thoughts

Rajesh Setty is well known his book Beyond Code and blog Life Beyond Code. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend  his Seminar on Life Beyond Code. The event was organized by HYSEA at Hyderabad.

During the seminar he focused on the following skills

  • Personal Branding
  • Building Long term Relationships

 His book targets the Technology Professionals find an insight into the book below

We need to do different things and distinguish ourselves to get superior results in our life. For this, we need tools that will help us distinguish ourselves and we also need the discipline to practice them daily. In this book, the author puts together a set of such insights and practices from his notes and cheat sheets collected over the last ten years. The purpose is to help you emerge from a life inside the cubicle, and take it beyond the code.

His work and thoughts in this direction are truly amazing. His books focuses on the nine skills required. The only way to capture  them is to learn and practice them daily.

Explore his blog for more details.

Hey Testers, Communicate the Value of Testing

Posted June 15, 2007 by Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi
Categories: Code Based Testing, Lessons Learned, Project Management, Quality Assurance, Software Development, Software Metrics, Software Testing, Technical Support, Technology, Test Management, Test Methodologies, Thinking like a Tester, Thoughts, Training

It’s almost a month since my last post on this blog and busy with my upcoming release of QuickRules BRMS. I have been talking to the people around on the Software Testing and felt that it’s not communicated well. Though there is enough information on this subject, i would like to describe my own version of the same here.

 

Testing is about making things better by providing constructive criticism based on the context (we can also say qualitative information and not being nice) at the right time and in the right direction too.

I like the phrase, “Testers, you are the headlights of the project” from the book Lessons Learned in Software Testing.

I have been thinking about this concept helped for the individuals. This revealed lot of crucial information and i hope this helps my fellow testers to motivate them & their teams.

There are many real life testers (incase if we need to list all of them) who contributed & still contributing a lot for us in every phase of life to grow and improve upon (fix the imp bugs among ourselves).Let’s explore some of them below.

My Parents are the first testers in my life. They contributed invaluable information at each stage (Milestone release) of my life. Instead of saying “Sshhhhhh you can’t do that, they used to tell me further implications that might arise”. An insight into this tells us that it’s not an order, but there is context based information for informed decisions.This helped me to stop for a while, analyze the information and work on the required steps to improve upon the current state.

My teachers helped me a lot by providing the constant feedback (just not being nice) through assignments, tests and covey the areas which are good and bad for me in the respective subjects. They are the best testers because they are the ones who taught the concepts and observed my execution towards the same.

There is a tremendous scope for the improvement, incase if we have acted upon the feedback at the right times.

My Boss at work used to evaluate (Test the Tester) me & provide the feedback on the tasks performed by me. This information helps to analyze to identify the next set of steps to be taken for the improvement.

If we look back, there are many testers around us providing the qualitative information to make things better and improve upon.

The Value of this information is tremendous since it came from people who are more experienced and passed through the current stage where we stand. The value lies in the fact that most of the successful people around, learnt a lot from others (learn from others mistakes too rather than your own) and they have become experts in their own fields.

How does this helps Software Testing

Software testing too comes under the similar lines and its role is to provide context driven information for the stake holders to make informed decisions over the application under test (AUT).

So as being testers, we need to provide the constructive criticism at each stage of the Development. If we look back at the above scenarios, the value addition is more because the people involved there have better skills over the context.

That being said, the current industry lacks skilled testers. The true value addition in Software Testing will be more, if and only if the people involved there have better skills over the context they working with.

Do share your views here or send them to me at venkatreddyc@gmail.com

Happy Testing…

The Role of Software Testing

Posted May 22, 2007 by Venkat Reddy Chintalapudi
Categories: Bug Tracking, Project Management, Software Testing, Test Management, Test Strategy, Thinking like a Tester

This is my first post in the Bug Life Cycle Series. I need to talk about this because when it comes to the role of testing, it’s not clear. The Role of Software Testing is often mis-understood across the different stake holders of the application development & this list includes testers too.

Testing is considered to be part of Quality Assurance activity since the initial days of Software Development and the same trend is happening as of now too. Even most of the titles like QA Engineer / QA Lead are associated with Testers even though they are not performing the role of QA.

It’s good to capture the mission of Testing & align your test teams in that direction. Every one in the team must be clear on his / her role and see how the same is helping to achieve the mission of the team.

 

 It’s good to note that

  • Testing is not about assuring quality into the systems because theTester is not a Quality Police.
  • Testing is not about targeting for Bug Free Product. It’s just impossible since you can’t build human brain into systems (Of course humans do commit mistakes).
  • Testing is not about fighting with the Development Teams. Don’t act like the enemy of developers.
  • Testing is not about just looking at the documents (so called BRS, SRS, FRS) and writing the test cases.
  • Don’t fight with Developers on the issues need to be fixed for the release instead write good report that reduce the time to reproduce and debug.

 

Testing is a process followed to make things better. It helps to take informed decision by providing the relevant information based on the context.

My teachers made me better by giving the relevant feedback at every stage on my performance. This includes nurturing the concepts, performance in the tests & week areas in the subject. This information helped me to identify the areas missed / uncovered and to improve upon.

Testers need to identify the critical issues with the system as soon as possible and make sure that the information supplied is sufficient to reproduce the issue. We need to supply the information on the presence of bugs in the system to the stake holders. The information should help the stake holders to take informed decisions.

The following list helps

  • Identify the different end users of the system and their interaction with the same.
  • Capture the important scenarios for each end user. It’s good to note that we need to capture the story around the scenario and not just steps.
  • Talk to different stake holders including the customers (incase if you have access) on how the feature might be used & capture the scenarios.
  • Plan towards uncovering the critical issues of the system as early as possible

Final Thoughts

Focus towards what is import for the decision making. Try to uncover important issues first and provide the required information to reproduce and debug the same problem.


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