Rob Kuijt's Testing Blog
What's In the Box? 
Sunday, April 27, 2008, 05:35 PM - Quality, Testing, TMap®
Posted by Rob Kuijt
Today I read a nice article: "What's In the Box?" by Mary Altman.
This article, about speculative fiction, started with a recognizable explanation of the term "black-box theory":
"The term is typically used to describe a device of which we know or care very little about its inner workings. The entire focus is on its input/output behavior—the result rather than the reasoning."

In the article, also Sociologist Bruno Latour gives a description of the "black-box theory":
"The way scientific and technical work is made invisible by its own success. ... Thus, paradoxically, the more science and technology succeed, the more opaque and obscure they become."
....
Mary ends her article with the conclusion:
"Most simply: it doesn't matter how it works. It only matters that it works."

...and what about the "black-box theory" in the software industry?


I know that many colleague testers believe this conclusion is also valid in the software industry. So, when they organize an Acceptance Test, they rely completely on the testing target: "It only matters that it works". From the perspective of the end-user they are probably right....because the end-user is not interested in (and has no knowledge of) the inner workings. So many Acceptance Tests rely on a complete black-box strategy!

I’m not one of them!


I think the test target: "It only matters that it works" is too thin. It gives no answers for: "When it works, will it keep on working?", or "How about vendor dependency?", or "Is this software maintainable?", or "Are there any hidden features?", and so on...

I think an Acceptance Test must, besides the testing "that it works", find assurance that the inner workings are validated. I agree that it should not be tested in the Acceptance Test, but still it MATTER HOW IT WORKS!!!
So how can we find assurance that it is tested? Is it possible for the software industry to give the Acceptance Test team the assurance the inner workings are validated and correct?

On these questions I am convinced that the testing community can help the developers. I believe, much effort is already done in delivering software of good quality.
But those efforts are hidden and not tuned into an efficient and effective process. Again: I think the testers can help! When testers and developers join together in describing all the quality measures (they already perform), it will be clear if enough measures are taken and/or what additional actions are needed. Chapter 7 of TMap® Next (Development Tests) gives for this inventory a small, but effective model.
The so called "Basic Quality model" describes the quality measures from four points of view:
  1. Depth of test coverage;
  2. Clarity (description how and when the test coverage is reached);
  3. Provision of proof (what deliverables give proof of the agreed test coverage);
  4. Compliance monitoring (how does the development process perform its internal monitoring).
Together, developers and testers can fill in these four points of view.

Combined with the quality measures of the requirements and design processes, this gives the Acceptance Test team the opportunity to get a "glass-box" impression how the inner workings are validated.

The glass-box effect gives also the possibility for implementing learning cycles. Implementing the "Basic Quality model" makes it possible to investigate the origin of defects, learn from it and help each other to do it better the next time!....I know...that's a little too optimistic...

So let's do it step by step: Creating a kind of glass-box by giving the Acceptance Testers the possibility to be a virtual witness of the development process would be a great first step!

pictures: www.vuurwerkboer.nl

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Test cases generated from Activity Diagrams part II 
Saturday, April 26, 2008, 11:39 AM - Testing, TMap®, Rosario
Posted by Rob Kuijt
In a previous post, I showed a simple example of a Rosario Activity Diagram and the Test Cases I directly generated from the XML-file. After the post I got some requests for a better example....
so today I made a more complex Activity Diagram (click on figure 1 to see it bigger).


Figure 1 More complex Activity Diagram (Thanx Angelina!)


And again, I generated the Process Cycle Test cases:
The steps:
1. Get the XML-file from the Activity Diagram,
2. Generate the TMap® Process Cycle Test cases (see the output ).

Do you like it? I Do!!

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Test cases directly generated from Activity Diagrams! 
Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 01:57 PM - Testing, TMap®, Rosario
Posted by Rob Kuijt
I don't like manual work. Especially when I think it can be automated!
Last weekend I had a cool breakthrough in my effort to make the work of General Testers less boring!
I succeeded in creating Process Cycle Test cases directly out of the XML file of an Activity Diagram, I created in the Rosario April CTP (Activity Diagrams are part of new Team Architect functionality of the next Microsoft Team System).



Text from TMap® Next :
The Process Cycle Test is a technique that is applied in particular to the testing of the quality characteristic of Suitability (integration between the administrative organization and the automated information system). The test basis should contain structured information on the required system behavior in the form of paths and decision points. The process cycle test digresses on a number of points from most other test design techniques:
  • The process cycle test is not a design test, but a structure test: the test cases issue from the structure of the procedure flow and not from the design specifications.
  • The predicted result in the process cycle test is simple: the physical test case should be executable. This checks implicitly that the individual actions can be carried out. In contrast to other test design techniques, no explicit prediction is made of the result, and so this does not have to be checked.


TMap® is a registered trademark of Sogeti Nederland BV


Automating the techniques for creating test cases isn't done very often. Most of the effort is pointed at the managing of the test process as a whole and in the recording and executing of test cases. Clemens Reijnen wrote a nice article about this subject in his blog (clemensreijnen.nl). In the last 5 years I did some development on the specification of test cases. I succeeded in creating a set of small web based programs that can support the tester by automating some of the steps during the creation of test cases. But the connection between the Functional Design (f.i. the Activity Diagram) and the tool for creating test cases is done by hand.
UNTIL LAST SATURDAY!


Figure 1 Example Activity Diagram


Last Saturday I managed to make an interface between the Activity Diagram and my tool for creating Process Cycle Test cases.
The steps are very simple now:
1. Create the Activity Diagram( see figure 1) in Team Architect (Rosario April CPT),
2. Get the XML-file from the Activity Diagram (on my disk),
3. Generate the PCT Test cases (see the output ).

Ready for testing? If you want it to test completely manually? Yes!
But I'm not satisfied yet. I want to import these Test Cases into Camano. (Camano is also part of the Rosario CPT; Camano is a tool for automating the manual work of the Generalist Testers)
My first experiences with Camano are positive! The UI is nice intuitive! And I like the support for documenting defects and performing regression tests!

So in the coming weeks I'll try to get connected with Camano!!
(later more...)



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Testing in the Lifecycle [ALM]... a focus on test coverage 
Sunday, April 13, 2008, 10:53 AM - ALM, Testing, TMap®
Posted by Rob Kuijt
When looking at Testing and more specific Test coverage in the Lifecycle [ALM] you can conclude that much effort is done to test as good as possible, but nobody can tell you what Test coverage is achieved in the successive stages of the ALM.

Work must be done in the thinking and communication concerning the quality levels that should be reached! It is proved to be very difficult to choose the thoroughness of testing and it is proved to be even more difficult to explain the executed Test coverage to the colleagues of the next test levels.

With the appearance of the chapter 14 "Test Design Techniques" in TMap® Next , there is now some light on the horizon. In the "old TMap®" the Test coverage was expressed in terms of dynamic and static quality characteristics, coupled with test techniques, which nobody understood. Even the full-time testers had trouble understanding it through and through.

With the introduction of TMap® Next the test coverage is, more friendly and intuitively, expressed in terms like paths, decision points, CRUD (coverage of the basic operations), checklists, and so on...
Now we can explain the chosen Test coverage practically in plain English!

I can give an example how we introduced this type of Test coverage expression in ALM in a project I've done within Sogeti. In the project we planned a serial of 5 successive test levels: Unit Tests (UT), Component Integration Tests (CIT), Technical End-to-end Test (EET), Functional Acceptance Test (FAT) and User Acceptance Test (UAT). Instead of designing the tests on an individual bases we created one overall "tuned" test strategy.



Picture: Clemens Reijen; from his article:
Testing in the Lifecycle [ALM]... a focus on automation


This overall test strategy was designed in three layers:
  • First; for all the test levels we determined the Basic Quality level, which can be seen as the absolute lowest level of Test coverage (labeled: Bronze). Formal escalation is needed to escape from this Basic Quality requirement. And of course the depth of testing is expressed in terms of chapter 14 of TMap® Next.
  • Second ; based on the BDTM-approach (see chapter 3.1 in TMap® Next) risk classes are determined for each combination of characteristic and object part. Characteristic= what must be investigated; Object part= what must be tested. The Test coverage above the Basic Quality level is, for all test levels, determined in a so called Master Test Plan. In my experience it is easy to communicate with stakeholders when the higher Test coverage levels are labeled as Silver and Gold and even Platinum. And again the labels silver, gold and platinum are expressed in chapter 14 terms.

  • Third; we introduced the Learning Cycle. Every time a blocking or costly defect occurred we analyzed the defect and if necessary we modified the Test coverage definition of the test level where the defect should be found.
    Another example of working with the bronze, silver, gold and platinum labels can be found in chapter 7 "Development Tests" of TMap® Next.


ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) regards the process of delivering software as a continuously repeating cycle of inter-related steps: definition, design, development, testing, deployment and management. Each of these steps needs to be carefully monitored and controlled [Wikipedia].
For more definitions see the article about ALM Definitions in the blog of Clemens Reijnen.

TMap® (Test Management approach) is a registered trademark of Sogeti Nederland BV

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How Popular is Your Blog? 
Monday, April 7, 2008, 10:19 PM - Fun
Posted by Rob Kuijt

How Popular is Your Blog?



Popularity of Blogs can be derived from the number of times someone reads an article. Another way to measure your popularity is to count the number of times somebody made an url-link to your blog. You can measure your score with the "link:"-feature of Google (link:<url>). In my case, my 3 weeks old blog has a score of zero.

The next Question is: How Popular is Your Blog in comparison with Others?



The nice thing about the "link:"-feature of Google is the possibility to measure it for other blogs as well. You can measure the link popularity for any blog you want. As a newcomer in the Testing Blog World it is very interesting to know what the most Popular Testing Blogs are. So I did some research.....collected a list of Testing Blogs......made a little job to get the Google score.........and Voila : I know what (today) the most popular Testing Blogs (from my list) are!

Interested? I made a tag cloud at http://robkuijt.nl/testingblogs (also on the right behind "More Testing Blogs...").

Do you want a Testing Blog in/out my list? Give a comment on this entry and I'll change my list next time I perform the measurement.

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