Contextual blindness: or How to take things completely out of context

Many testers are familiar with the concept of inattentional blindness (or at least should be in my opinion). Basically inattentional blindness occurs when we are so visually focused on a task  or object that we completely fail to see something out of the ordinary. But, I am going to introduce my own neologism that I…

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GUI Automation and ROI

It seems that many test automation efforts around the industry tend to focus on GUI automation, or automating functional tests primarily by manipulating GUI objects. In general, GUI automation tends to be a very expensive approach to test automation, and the automation efforts often end in failure or achieve less than satisfactory results. The majority…

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The purpose of software testing

For the past few years I have been teaching new testers at Microsoft. Before beginning the Microsoft ‘assimilation’ process I always ask each new group to define testing in one sentence and list the primary objectives of software testing. Invariably, the majority of folks new to software testing believe the purpose of software testing is…

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Certification Wars

I started diving in the late 70’s, and in1985 I became a PADI certified open water scuba instructor. In those days, scuba instruction involved a lot of classroom time discussing various concepts that impacted human physiology such as Boyle’s Law, Dalton’s Law, Haldane’s Principle, and also immediate responder first aid for scuba diving related maladies…

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Regression Testing Strategies

There is a lot written about regression testing, and yet there seems to be a lot of confusion about regression testing as well. Just to make sure we are all on the same page, by regression I am referring to the denotation of the word to indicate a relapse to a less perfect or developed…

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Vista Rant #3 – And yet another boundary issue in Explorer’s listview?

This morning I installed Vista SP1 onto my laptop. I was pretty excited about this release of Vista SP1 because it includes some pretty significant performance enhancements. But, as I was preparing to teach an internal course I came across a new boundary issue. I thought, how fitting this comes as I prepare to teach another class…

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"Good enough" is not good enough!

This week I came across a discussion [regarding test design] in which a tester wrote, “…the main goal is having something that is ‘good enough’.” Every time I hear a tester utter the phrase “good enough” my head wants to explode! Wrapping duct tape around a splint on the broken handle on my hoe is good…

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Do testers need programming skills?

The debate over whether testers need to at least understand programming concepts is still raging within the discipline. To me this debate is puzzling because it seems to suggest that as a professional, I don’t have to really understand or be completely proficient in critical aspects of my trade. Even Cem Kaner noted, “I think…

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Test Automation with Ruby: Don’t drink the kool-aid

I was stuck at home this weekend with house painters pondering how best to spend the day sitting at home, so I decided to actually play around with the Ruby scripting language a bit. I will admit my bias in my previous post about the Ruby scripting language was based on business justifications and personal preferences towards the C family of…

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Equivalence class partitioning

I have been teaching formal testing techniques for several years at Microsoft and University of Washington Extension. Techniques are systematic procedures to help solve a complex problem. A technique does not find all types problems; techniques are generally very good at finding very specific classes of defects. But, the usefulness or effectiveness of any particular…

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