Arkisto: June 2018



Orienteering for Software Testers – The Cunning Planner

11. Juneta, 2018 | Kirjoittaja: Jani Haikala

What do you know about orienteering? If you are not familiar with the sport here is a Wikipedia definition for you: “Orienteering is a group of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain whilst moving at speed.” If you haven’t tried it I highly recommend it! In this blog series I talk about orienteering from amateur’s point of view and link these observations to professional software testing.

Suunnistus1

The map above is from a local orienteering event in my hometown of Oulu, Finland. We discussed about the map in previous article. Now I’d like to draw your attention to the controls. They are marked with a circle and a number and there is a total of 19 of them. These controls form a course. A route from which the orienteer is expected to find all the controls in predetermined order and preferably as fast as possible.

The planner is the person who plans the courses. Controls are often put in places that are not the easiest to find. In addition, the order of the controls is thoroughly thought of to give the orienteer extra challenge. For example, the terrain between two controls might be difficult to advance and the direction you are closing in to a control does not help finding it.

Consider that these controls are the features that needs to be tested. Places you have to visit in the software during the testing session. In this context, are the controls challenging enough and in what order does the tester visit them? I am quite sure that often testers do not set additional challenges for themselves. Suddenly the planner is the tester’s best friend giving the tester the opportunity to cut corners.

Orienteering lesson 2: Testers need to form a challenging course for themselves. A friendly planner gets caught sooner or later.

Orienteering for Software Testers series:

  1. A Map Full of Nothing
  2. The Cunning Planner
  3. Are You a Racing Snake? 18.6.2018
  4. An Army of Donkeys 25.6.2018
  5. More Coverage from a Relay 2.7.2018
  6. Bulletin of a Champion 9.7.2018

Orienteering for Software Testers – A Map Full of Nothing

4. Juneta, 2018 | Kirjoittaja: Jani Haikala

What do you know about orienteering? If you are not familiar with the sport here is a Wikipedia definition for you: “Orienteering is a group of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain whilst moving at speed.” If you haven’t tried it I highly recommend it! In this blog series I talk about orienteering from amateur’s point of view and link these observations to professional software testing.

compass-3072065_1920

The most important tool for an orienteer is the map. It describes the terrain using various symbols. This includes landforms, rocks, water, vegetation and so on. No reason to list every symbol here. I think I don’t even know all of them. You get the idea.

Depending on the orienteering event you will see many kinds of maps. In smaller events you might get a map that hasn’t been updated for at least couple of years. Most likely the terrain has changed during that time somehow.

Bigger competitions obviously put in more effort. For example, in the world’s biggest orienteering relay Jukola – held in Finland – the mappers work couple of years to produce a map worthy of the event. A good map is both accurate and readable. Two requirements that don’t always go hand in hand.

To sum it all up, the degree to which the map matches the terrain varies. When the orienteer gets lost the map often gets the blame. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes it’s not. Does this sound familiar to you as a user of multitude of different apps?

Now consider that the terrain is a software you are about to test for the very first time. How good is the map you are provided with? Sure, usually there’s a bunch of requirements to give you an idea of the software and it’s features. Is it certain that the specifications are actually flawless? Do they cover every imaginable situation? For majority of software out there I can state with certainty that the answer to both of those questions is “no”. Sometimes the tester is even sent in the woods with a blank map!

Orienteering lesson 1: The tester has to act as a mapper. Explore and build a more detailed picture. Produce information of the software that wasn’t yet known.

Orienteering for Software Testers series:

  1. A Map Full of Nothing
  2. The Cunning Planner
  3. Are You a Racing Snake? 18.6.2018
  4. An Army of Donkeys 25.6.2018
  5. More Coverage from a Relay 2.7.2018
  6. Bulletin of a Champion 9.7.2018