Crossword on Testing Types

A new year gift to all our readers in the form of this Crossword puzzle.

crossword-puzzle

Image Courtesy – Google

About Crossword – A word which is cross, yes literally 😉
Makes you stretch your imagination,  flex the grey matter and scribble / doodle away thinking about the solution. If crossword solving interests you, then take a look at the crossword grid and the clues below.

Crossword Theme is based on different testing types. This holiday season, entertain yourself by solving this crossword,  constructed by Jay Philips. Thank you Jay for your effort in constructing this puzzle.

Crossword Grid

Crossword_1

 

The clues are below:Crossword_1_TT

 

Send in your solution to editor@womentesters.com by the 26th of January 2015. The solution will be published on 30th January 2015.

The Mother of All Testers

The Mother of All Testers

We live in a world where things that are precious to us are labeled with a feminine title.  Mother Earth.  Mother Nature.  People refer to their cars as “she”.  Why do we do this?  Because there is something genuine, tender, caring, and special about the female aspect when it comes to our lives.

We are witnessing a change in the world we live in.  Women are taking more leadership positions in government, corporations, and within various other communities.  The right person is being selected for the positions, regardless of whether they are male or female.

Women have paved the way through the years for others to follow and build upon.  Imagine what life would be like without these influential Women:

  • Mother Teresa – she led a cause to the orphaned, sick, and dying among the poorest worldwide and became an inspiration to so many who followed in her servant leadership.
  • Diana, Princess of Wales – she chose not to just live in royalty, but to lead many causes (such as acceptance of AIDS victims, and a campaign against land mines). She inspired the world with her life.
  • Marie Curie – first woman to win a Nobel Prize in two areas. She coined the term “radioactivity” and was one of the first to suggest radiation to treat cancer.
  • Mary Kay Ash – she founded Mary Kay Cosmetics, and gave jobs to thousands of women, along with the chance for each to earn a “pink Cadillac” car to drive.
  • Maya Angelou – during the writing of this article, Maya passed away. Of all the many great things she did, one of her quotes that stood with me for so many years has been “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel“.  Never forget this quote.  Make it something you live by.
  • Grace Hopper – how could we have a software testing discussion related to women in testing without talking about this lady? This Navy admiral was also a math genius and founding mother of computer languages, which led to the development of COBOL.  She is credited with the term “debugging”  One notable quote from Grace was “The most important thing that I’ve accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people.  They come to me, you know, and say ‘Do you think we can do this?’ and I say ‘Try it’.  And I back them up.  They need that.  I keep track of them as they get older and I stir them up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances.”  What an inspirational quote to live by.

In the testing profession today, being a test practitioner is nothing like years ago.  The dynamic nature of the industry, combined with the exponential growth of new technologies gives so many great, new, and interesting areas for the thinking tester.  We are seeing the ratio of male to female in the practice changing.  And with this change comes a new group of women testers that are providing new insights and inputs to the testing community.  I am encouraged by the articles, presentations, and teachings of many of the women in testing.

My challenge to the community is this: let’s bring on testers who want to change the world.  Let’s encourage them to expand and help others grow along the way.  Let’s get more women testers in our communities, and let’s encourage them to be seen and heard and to lead major changes as we face the future.  We have no idea what the next 10 years will bring us.  In the 1980’s, we had not even heard about the internet or mobile phones in everyone’s pocket.  Now these two things are responsible for so many testing efforts conducted today.

Congratulations to Women Testers magazine and Testing Circus on this effort.  I look forward to the many articles that will rise up from writers around the globe.  You have my support and following!

About the author

ML

Mike Lyles is a  Sr. QA Architect with over 21 years of IT experience. He has led various aspects of testing: functional testing, Test Environments, SCM, Test Data Management, Performance Testing, Test Automation, and Service Virtualization.  In his current role, he is responsible for defining and implementing tools, processes, and methodologies to support the QA teams.  Mike is an international/keynote speaker at multiple conferences, and is regularly published in testing publications. Mike’s passion to help others improve and grow in the field of testing, leadership, and management is his key motivation.  He is available for mentoring and coaching on testing via Skype (mikewlyles).  You can learn more about Mike at http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikewlyles, www.MikeWLyles.com or http://about.me/mikelyles

From A to Z; 26 ways Testers can work with UX designers

The team needs to build a product. The team readily recognizes the testers need to work with the developers but the same team often doesn’t consider that the testers need to work with the UX staff. Often the UX staff is tucked away in a different part of the office, working with multiple teams and yet, rarely working directly with the testers. Why? How can testers review a product without a good understanding of the design? Testers need closer access to UX and UX designers would benefit from working directly with the testers. Following are 26 ways a tester can work more closely with UX designers – from A to Z. 

Accessibility Testing

Accessibility testing is a growing need as more websites and apps are becoming ADA compliant.  While ADA compliance can be included on the design, it is only through testing that compliance can be checked. In addition to “checklist” testing, the W3C has an accessibility guide mentions the concept of using a persona with disabilities which inspires a more holistic way to test for accessibility than testing solely with a checklist. Offer to work with your UX designer on the persona and execute testing through a different perspective.

Browsers

As designers layout web pages, they might not be aware of the nuances of page rendering from browser to browser and this is an opportunity for testers to share their experience at the concept phase to ward off issues, as well as to offer access to testing during development.

Be fluent in browser settings and coach your UX designers when they introduce ideas that require specific browser settings or when they make browser assumptions. Browser assumptions – meaning the designer is assuming users are using Chrome with cookies enabled but you know from watching browser stats that your user audience is different – and may prefer Firefox with privacy settings turned on. In fact, you could be reviewing browser stats on an intermittent basis with your designer to make sure you are both aware of the production reality of your site usage.

Content

The expression “content is king” may bring to mind the stark reality that many websites and mobile apps are free but the money is made in charging customers for access to content. While website and app designers are focused on the end user experience, it is in the testing of permission and user roles that we can ensure who can access what (and for that matter – when).

A second well used expression: “content is everywhere” refers to the separation of content and the form being used to display content.  Think mobile device versus tablet versus website; think about your site’s content and whether that content is ready to render as it should based on the viewing device and layout. Designers and writers can “tag” content but ultimately, it is in the testing to see how it all really comes together (or not.)

Data

My data, your data, whose data? What can you see? What can you access? Like content, data is what makes a website or app really matter to the user. Screen mockups often show personal information but without test data or occasional production spot checks, how do you know what data is visible? Or how it looks?

Error Handling

While the “works as designed” scenarios may be more fun to design, UX designers (like developers) need to think about troubled situations that may arise and how those conditions will be handled. Have you ever used a graceful application only to face a hideous error message? Offer to preview error messages with your UX designer and to test software such that you see the error conditions evoked.

Forms

So many forms! From shopping carts whether on ecommerce or mcommerce payment is the most essential transaction on many websites and apps. The experience might be well designed but someone has to make sure the financial aspects and the forms of the site or app work and work well.

Gestures

Websites and apps need to function well in addition to the look and feel. Learn what gestures are available and offer to test gestures in collaborations with a UX designer.

Hacker

With security problems being displayed on the front of the news, everyone on a software development team needs to think like a hacker. Be aware of security flaws and help guide your UX designers to be mindful of potential security issues.

Installation

Installation testing is back in the forefront of concerns with mobile and tablet apps. Upgrading one app or many apps at the same time, as well as testing an upgrade to the operating system is needed. Work with UX designers to identify moments during installation for messages to users and like error messages, offer to preview messages.

Jail Broken Devices

Clean and pristine devices might be the ideal used during design but most users’ cell phones are jail broken or rooted and contain a multitude of apps. Testing on a more realistic device is helpful. Perhaps BYOD can help you achieve realistic testing? Help your UX designer by offering BYOD sessions for testing.

Keyboard

If you can navigate your site with just a keyboard – and not the use of a mouse, your site is ADA compliant (that is the only checkpoint). You can test for ADA compliance together.

Localization

Is your site or app suitable for international use? Do you need to test with international keyboards? Does content need to be adapted for global usage? Coordinate with your UX designer to address multi-lingual checks.

Multi-Device Experience

The multi-device experience promised by Apple computer ‘s TV ads shows a person moving from home to office, to the local coffee shop and back again but data synchronization, Wi-Fi access and retrieving information from the cloud is all just a magical promise without testing. A UX designer can dream and design but a tester can road test concepts best.

Navigation

In design, the flow through a shopping e-commerce experience, an e-learning system or even the login process is often designed with the “happy path” in mind and while it is important to think of the “typical” path, it is the tester on the team that can highlight alternate or problem flows that also need to be designed.

Open Lab Time

As the team’s tester you might have access to multiple computers and devices, you can offer to your UX designer open lab times for them to come and view and use software for themselves.

Personalization

It is easy to think about personalization through the mental lens of a single user but what happens to web pages like My Account and My Order History when the user is a longtime customer with pages and pages of history? A tester with access to the database can build account history and then review web pages with a UX designer to do a sanity check of how personalization pages look with deep order history and a variety of interesting past orders.

Quirky scenarios

UX designers may focus on more typical user scenarios but as the team’s tester, you may be able to envision more gnarly or quirky scenarios.  Sharing your ideas early on about twists in typical usage paths helps designers plan for the less expected scenarios.

Responsive Web Design

RWD – responsive web design – building in the ability to resize, pan, and scroll all while auto-detecting the way a device is being held or rotated and having that instant fluid presentation takes planning and testing. Work with your UX designer to test on an array of devices to ensure a smooth user experience.

SEO

Search engine optimization and the continual change in search order ranking is an ongoing “art” in the quest for companies and their websites and apps to be “findable.” From glass box testing of the HTML to black box testing of search results, testers can help UX designers.

Target Users

Marketing efforts often rely on A/B testing – providing two different looks of a website to see which is more successful. UX designers design those two layouts and while testing the success of the marketing efforts is a different form of testing, checkpoints workflows and shopping carts regardless of which entry point is used is something testers can coordinate with UX designers.

Usability

Offer to help host and attend UAT sessions your UX designer may host. Once you have a chance to see the software through the user’s perspective, your own testing approach may change.

Versions

Version control and compatibility especially when web services and APIs are in the background and being updated at a variety of times and not always updated and released at the same time. Coordinate with your UX designer to ensure compatibility.

Web Services

Testing what cannot be seen such as web services and APIs is a challenge for people who don’t know how to test what they cannot immediately and directly “see.” Testers can work more closely with developers to provoke or stimulate services that are down or disrupted to test challenge scenarios that designers are dependent on.

XML

Extensible Markup Language defines precise formatting for information and while designers plan for data and information to be available, testers can test those dependencies on data.

Y2K and other dates

Y is a reminder to test with sensitive dates and date formatting that may otherwise “quietly” appear on web pages and confirmation emails.

Zip Files

Browse to file, upload file, drag and drop file and other ways to navigate to files to include, attach and upload files is not the most exciting part of a website but the end result is important to users. Zip files are not the only file types to test with but compressed hefty zip files do provide a reminder to consider boundary conditions.

About the Author

KNJ

Karen N. Johnson is a software test consultant. She is frequent speaker at conferences. Karen is a contributing author to the book, Beautiful Testing by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blogs about her experiences with software testing. She is the co-founder of the WREST workshop, more information on WREST can be found at: http://www.wrestworkshop.com/Home.html Visit her website at: http://www.karennjohnson.com

Foundations of Ticket Writing

For web development test engineers, one of the most common tasks is lowly defect ticket creation.  Each ticket is a valuable nugget of feedback provided to the development team, but the caveat is that it is provided at the end of a project. Nerves become frazzled while timelines get tighter.

Key Ticket Concepts

A vital requirement for each ticket is that it is clear, concise, and distilled as much as possible. I try my best to use an editing eye with my ticket, knowing that the developer may look at hundreds of tickets. I highly recommend using a tool like Hemingway for a few tickets, which dissects the text readability levels. When I write a ticket, I try to keep the non-technical language at an 8th grade reading level – this distills the information to the developer diagnosing the issue.

While working on each ticket, I do my best to give feedback in a neutral manner. It may seem obvious to not include negative commentary in each ticket, but I also try my best to not include positive commentary (smiley faces and similar). Both can cause strife and imbalance on the development team – a developer dealing with a difficult ticket may feel slighted when another developer receives a positive comment. Using neutral language helps a developer simply diagnose an issue without emotion.

Additionally, being careful of language that presumes is one lesson I learned as well. It was pointed out to me that the small word “should” added to a behavior expectation I never thought would irk a developer. For example, “Expected Behavior: The site should include a favicon.” adds presumption with the word ‘should’. It never occurred to me, this simple word, would rankle a developer. Instead, it’s better to simply provide straightforward language: “Expected Behavior: the style guide shows a favicon is added to the site.”. It also references a precise location in the documentation that defines a defect.

Constructing a Ticket

One thing that I believe helps the developer quickly diagnose a defect is a very clear title: “Global – Favicon Missing from Site”. The location ‘Global’ helps define its greater location (or, for example, “Careers”). For the title of the headline itself, I try use MLA Style headline casing, and try my best to keep it as short as possible. I’m dorkily pleased if I can get it under 60 characters. If the defect only occurs in one environment, I display an abbreviated version before the location: “[IE7] Global – Favicon Missing from Site”. More information is provided in the ticket of the specific detail, but the abbreviated environment also helps the developer eliminate possible issues.

Within the body of the ticket, I provide an Issue Description, an Expected Behavior description, affected URL(s), an Environment reference, and a screenshot or short video. If the defect is triggered by a process more than two steps (generally a UI issue not related to CSS), I will also provide Steps to Reproduce.

The Issue Description is a short sentence or two describing an issue, and its converse, the Expected Behavior, notates what is defined as being necessary to the project. These seem obvious, but it is imperative to be clear for the developer’s sake. If a developer sends back the ticket for clarification, they have taken the time to open it, read it, attempt to understand it, potentially switch their train of thought, but then send it back for clarification. This means the developer has wasted time simply comprehending the problem – which I will have to clarify anyway. For me, my personal acceptable rate of clarification is 1-3% of tickets written may need further information.

Environment references are essential for the developer. Providing a simple ‘Google Chrome’ isn’t enough – I also am sure to provide the operating system, as well as the version number. For example, today I’m using the Chrome version “Mac OSX 10.8.5, Chrome 35.0.1916.114”. It’s essential for the developer (and is one of the first reasons the developer requests information from the tester), but there are many times defects that only occur in specific environments.

The screenshot (or video, if appropriate) gives a developer a visual cue of the defect. There are many tools that can gather screenshots, but I use the simplest method of Command+Shift+4 on my Mac computer. Research methods that work best, and the developer will be appreciative and will be able to comprehend the ticket even faster.

I personally do not include Steps to Reproduce if it is a simple CSS issue, or one that can be quickly understood when landing on the page – if there is a button that has an incorrect color, or if a login form is not present on the page. Otherwise, the Steps to Reproduce are the final chance for the developer to understand the problem. I try to make them detailed and almost nauseatingly step-by-step, so that nothing is missed.

But You Test, And You Might Know Some/Most/All of This Topic

Well, I’m really pleased. This makes development easier for everyone, and you’re able to give iterative feedback in a more constructive manner. Perhaps you’ve taken this template and tweak it to your own for your group’s projects – this is definitely the just the basics of a ticket.

When I first started with testing, I learned a bit of this from a fantastic tester, and the rest was picked up along the way. I’m hoping this goes out to someone just starting out, or making the leap to Quality Assurance from another career path. I also find it helpful for trusted folks who aren’t testers that contribute to a project provide feedback to the development team. I think that providing clear feedback throughout any project will amplify your project’s quality, and the basics gets your team started on the right track.

About the Author

Sara Tabor is a NYC-based Director of Quality Assurance for Noise, a marketing and analytics agency focused on the millennial market. She has been testing for 6+ years, having prior worked in quality assurance at The Nerdery and Magenic. Her focus is manual testing, with additional background in auditing, accessibility testing, and localization testing, and works to foster quality assurance standards throughout the agency development experience. When not breaking code, she can be found playing hockey, waterskiing, knitting, or unhooking her cat’s claws from her clothing.

Forget mentors, find a sponsor

I know this heading sounds familiar. Sylvia Ann Hewlett wrote a book with this name – Forget a Mentor, Find a sponsor. I really liked the idea and title and since I was planning to write on fast tracking our testing careers, I told myself – I could just get more efficient by re-using what’s already created to highlight my message instead of reinventing the wheel again. (That’s the easiest way to feel guilty free of choosing a catchy phrase created by other)

A widely travelled lady in my network bought this to my notice that any conference she went to, she would always see a huge line in front of men’s room but there was never a line before the women’s room. And that thought sparked me to notice a series of observations – why just attendees, there were so few women speakers. At our own work place we had so few women managers even when we had a good percentage of women in the fresher’s batch. And this is disturbing.

It’s depressing to see how steep the decline in the number of women is as we go up the ladder. Every year we see more drop outs. If we could find what all is causing women to give up on their career at any stage –we could probably work towards supporting women on these issues and trying to fix them collaboratively. Being a taboo topic, it is difficult to make women come out and talk about it. Since it is easy to think that if a woman is talking about being a woman at work – it means – they are either asking for favors or are complaining.When neither is the basic idea. The focal point is having more women at work. And not talking about it is not helping anyone. The idea is not to portray women as needing help more than men. The idea is however, to want to provide women with whatever support and safety net and encouragement they need, to face the challenges. Can we help them to learn- to stick it out when the going gets harder and not just walk away.

NOTE: We can’t mistake this phenomenon to be local and assume that it’s something to do with the Asian culture that I see so less women at work. Mind you – I work with global workforce scattered all over the globe.

On getting deeper into, I could see few glaring issues, which could be really managed well with some help. One of them was mentorship and then mentorship versus sponsorship. First challenge is to make women understand they need help and they can get it. And they deserve help. Initially, I didn’t see much happening in the area but now I see lot of collaboration from both men and women on giving and receiving ends of mentorship, as individuals and community forums too. This is a very refreshing change but it has its own limitations too.

Let me stop here for a moment. Women need mentoring mentorship does help women a lot in ways one can’t imagine – simplest one being – knowing you are a part of a community who wants to grow together and in turn just being a role model for another woman can be a very encouraging and satisfying feeling. But I notice that women seek lots of mentors but don’t focus as much on sponsors. This needs to go hand in hand. They should seek mentorship and learn from the mentors but they need to step up and look for those powerful decision makers whose support can actually get them more help and support, in order to achieve their goals. Sometimes mentoring is not enough; getting access to all the right resources in time becomes the key to success.

One needs to engage with the key people at work. Depending on the kind of sponsorship you may be looking for, these could be – People who matter in board rooms, People whose decisions are honored in the company or People who are visionary or subject matter expert or some peer working at another location. Sponsorship doesn’t mean money. It means opportunities. It could be opportunity for one to showcase their abilities.Opportunity to get that one chance that could tell the world how special you are. It could come in any form – a key assignment , a key posting, a conference, a training, a promotion, an appreciation, a public acknowledgement of abilities – could be anything including money.

And key people have so much to do all the time. One can’t expect them to be interested in your career growth exclusively at any point. Even getting noticed seems luxury sometimes. So, what can you do? Unlike, the relationship between you and your mentor – which is unidirectional take only relationship, the relationship between you and your sponsor has to be bi-directional give and take one. Find out what all really matters to the sponsor because unless it matters to her/him, it’s difficult to get their attention. Then find out where all you can help and then engage with the sponsor on those areas. You should consider to first taking the sponsor’s interest in account and that should help you win what you need.

Another aspect I noticed is women don’t invest in their skill up-gradations through trainings. My personal observation (I mean no bias or offence) for population at large is that- Men treat their career differently and with more respect. Most of the women look at their work as something they do to just earn money and are so caught up in the daily fight to manage their work and home they forget to plan for their future at work. Men are meanwhile focused on learning and eventually get ahead. No one interviews a candidate to hire them for their gender. People want talent – most of the times, it’s not a bias against women that’s stopping them from being in the board of director of organizations but a lack of talent and attitude. How many times would you hear a woman talk about becoming a CEO eventually? Or working towards a new role and going through trainings, conferences and networking sessions to learn more.

This aspect should not be taken lightly. This is one of those key areas where we could improve on our own and get prepared for a better work life. This alone can prepare women to stand up against biases. One can’t expect to get promoted to a higher position for which multiple folks are contesting – men or women unless they are the best suited in all required ways.

It is apparent that – Talent can be enhanced/improved and shined by appropriate planning.

However, there are many other such areas, which can’t be changed as quickly. Aspects which are inherited through one’s culture, aspects which could be non-progressive in nature but could give a sense of belongingness.

“Attitude” is one such area that we could do better. Different cultures teach women to behave differently, think differently. More cultures are patriarch on the planet than neutral. This gives women a feeling of being less since the very beginning and directs them to think in ways which are detrimental in the long run. Independent thinking and ability to decide for one’s own self is very important. It is important to be able to say one is proud and happy of their own achievements. One should be able to freely express themselves.

Lean In is an organization for women, that asks women – what would you do if you had nothing to fear. Various aspects of attitude need scraping to bring out your true self. Could we unapologetically accept our abilities, take compliments and be assertive in our style of working? We are trained to be self-limiting and that gets in our way to achieve more (fighting patriarch society thoughts and principles). Can we accept ourselves as we are and face the world with no guilt and feeling of being less? Enjoy with the team, be a part of the team. Learn with them. And grow with them.

There is a certain part that other men, women, families and society in general can play in supporting growth of women. Those can be listed and assisted with. We need to learn on how we can work around to get that support and how a supportive family does make an impact on one’s growth in life. A family is one’s biggest and most demanding and unreasonable client. At the same time it’s the one you thrive on for bigger successes and happiness in life. So you need them but you need them to be supportive. Learn to support each one in the family in what they are doing. Apply the science we learnt while building sponsorship for ourselves. We can win their confidence by showing our passion and abilities and sharing responsibilities too. The more we respect each other, the more we get back.

With all these taken care of we sure can see more upcoming women stars in every field. The process has begun, results can be shortly seen but scale can be improved drastically.

My message to the readers – With all this said here, at the end of the day – one will still face challenges and will have low times. Sometimes things won’t work. And won’t work out for a longer duration than one can really handle. But one needs to just hang on. Time takes care of many problems that we can’t solve. The key is to ‘KEEP HANGING IN THERE”. Look for any and all support you can get from any direction. Stop fearing. Just go out and find your solution. TAKE CHARGE – simply, because it’s YOUR problem. DO NOT GIVE UP OR GIVE IN – EVER.

If this article motivates you to invest in yourself – please attend conferences happening near you.

About the Author
Smita Mishra is the founder and chief consultant at QAzone Infosystems, which is a pure- play software testing organization. She is a first generation Entrepreneur and is a Test professional who has spent over 12 years practicing testing and leading test efforts of varying sizes, cutting across all key domains and technologies. In past, she has worked with multiple organizations, likes of – HCL Technologies Ltd, Fidelity Investments, Nucleus Software Exports Ltd, Churchill Insurance (Now RBS) and led multi-million dollars testing projects, set up and maintain test centers for her customers. In her current role, she is involved in creating test teams, managing testing for software companies, leading the overall test strategy for them. She supports her customers in identifying the risks their applications are carrying and / or passing on further to their end customers, through carefully crafted skills of software testing. She is also engaging constantly with different forums to assist growth for women in her field and otherwise too. She can be found on Twitter at @smita_qazone. She is beginning to write blogs (not always testing ones though) that can be read at http://wordpress.smitamishrablog.com Linkedin Profile : http://www.linkedin.com/in/smitapmishra