This week I have decided to change things up a bit. Seeing as we are now past the halfway point in the semester, I decided to start exploring some blogs other than the group I normally browse, just to try and find a different voice, a different point of view. I am happy to report I have succeeded in this mission, and have found a blog post by Michael Stahl on stickyminds.com that clicked with me.
One of the recurring problems we face as testers is making sure that we have covered everything that could possible happen in a piece of software, good or bad. Stahl suggests using bug taxonomy as a way to think of new ideas on what needs to be covered. This type of taxonomy is not trying to compare types of testing with type of bugs, but trying to put software bugs into categories. If you have a list of categories you can go to each time you run through the testing gauntlet, it may allow you to think of new tests that need to be written for your product. A few bug items under the category of performance he suggests are from Testing Computer Software, by Cem Kaner, Hung Q. Nguyen, and Jack Falk: slow program, poor, responsiveness, and no progress reports. His list goes on, but you get the point.
Once I saw this list of categories, this strategy totally made sense to me. Basically, have a list that is entitled “Have I covered:” or something to that extent. Running through the list forces you to think of scenarios you may not have covered, but should be covered. And since the list is categorized (i.e. performance, user experience, etc.) it allows you to focus on one testing area at a time. I can tell you that after reading this post I made a list of things I need to go back and check on for something I am working on at work. So, this strategy has already paid dividends for me.
Although other testers list can be useful and is a good way to share ideas, Stahl strongly suggests making your own list to reference again and again. This is because you may not agree with how another person’s list is laid out. For example, in the list from Testing Computer Software, Stahl mention how under the performance category is “no progress reports”. He feels it should be under a user experience category. I agree that is should be under user experience, but these lists are all up to the testers opinion, so it is not wrong that the book has it in a different spot. This can be avoided by making your list.
I really enjoyed this blog because making a bug taxonomy list seems like a relatively simple way of trying to find new tests. It practical, and be applied in everyday use without a big hit on time. We always talk about how important time is with testing, so if there is a quick and efficient way that is going to help make my tests better, I am in.
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