I was lucky enough to be able to present in the Melbourne Selenium Meetup which was held at Carsales.com.au on the 11th of December, 2014.
Below is the script of my speech with the title Evolution Of Software Testing.
Thanks to Ray for inviting me to the MeetUp. I am definitely not the most experienced here, just to share with everybody the changes in testing that I have observed in the past 10 years, which you may be experiencing too and my personal experiences in the journey.
I would like to share my experience in terms of these 4 areas.
(1) Transition from traditional to Agile
(2) Importance of automation
(3) Battling between time and quality in a world when we need to deploy fast
(4) What do we need to do to keep up in a rapid changing industry
Waterfall to Agile
Most of our changes started after the adoption of Agile SDLC over Waterfall
Testing is part of software engineering
Testing no longer is a phase in SDLC. It is part of software engineering. What does that mean?
Bug catching at every phase
Bug catching is not done at the final phase before deployment. Testing starts at early phase, during planning or design, before development starts.
Real Life Scenario
My experience with the transition from Traditional to Agile is that it helps to deliver better quality results and on time as it eliminates the back and forth bug catching and fixing which will cost more towards the end of a development phase. Testing bit by bit is gives a much better result than testing in a big chunk. This also helps to ensure that the product is what the stakeholder wants.
I heard about a real life scenario where Company X invested in a 4 year traditional software project. When the stakeholder 1st time sees it, it was a shock as it was not the product they expected.
During Waterfall, testing is the final phase before production and testers are always being pressured to test fast in order to deliver on time. My worst experience is to receive a project that would need a few days of testing at 3pm and needs to be deployed the next day. As a result of that, we have to work overtime, or take out features that have show stopper bugs. PMs tend to give a lot of pressure to the testers back in those days.
Get rid of the documentations
We no longer need to write piles of test cases or test plans.
Automation is the key
Automation is our documentation. Yes, we need to learn to code. Test cases or test plans are converted into automated tests.
No technology is perfect without a testing framework. Every new technology or language comes with a way to test it.
• Web applications: Selenium
• Mobile: Calabash, Appium, Robotium
• .NET: Nunit, Xunit
• Java: Junit
• Angular JS: Protractor
Choosing the right tool
How to choose the right automation tool? These are the key criteria to consider.
• Most popular used
• Large community support
• Open source vs Commercial
• Skills of the team
Personally I prefer Open Source tools as they are more fun to work on. 🙂 Or even custom built. For example, we use .NET library Web Client to test API and Web services
Real Life Scenario
So how do we start from doing manual testing to automation? Take baby steps. Start writing BDD scenarios instead of test cases. Then learn how to use Selenium to drive web browser. Then try more complex code manipulation before moving on to the framework level in making sure the test framework is reusable, scalable, maintainable.
As you expand your Selenium usage, you’ll realize that we will face some challenges in certain areas such as pages with lots of AJAX calls. In that case we will need to have workaround these scenarios, like checking that all jQuery has been loaded.
Another Selenium problem is Element No Longer Attached To DOM. In this case, we will need to have a while loop and try to find the element with a catch for StaleElementException.
Test = User + Design
We need to use the product as a user and also understand the design to be able to think of the possible loop holes
In the older days there is less emphasize on tester to be know the software design architecture. But in Agile, as we are involved since the earliest phase of SDLC, we will are expected to know to pick up not merely software bugs, but also requirements and design issues.
Knowing the software design helps to pick up edge cases. For example:
• If we know that the database field has a size of 50 varchar, we can try to input >50 chars into it and see what happens. Will it crash or truncated?
• If we know that a CSS file is used in multiple location, we will need to test multiple locations if it is changed
Time vs Quality
Nowadays we need to deliver software fast. Deliver, get feedback, or fail fast is the best practice. So how can we do that without sacrificing quality? I used to fight with our PM back in he old days in order to get the best quality product out the door. But nowadays that does not work anymore because time = money for business and as a QA, we need to work towards the same goal too (management will like this).
We can deliver software with known bugs. We do this by understanding the critical path of the system usage and ensure that most red route are working correctly, while some bugs can be left in some feature that has minimal usage. We can use data or user analytics to understand which are the most visited pages, most used features, etc to help us make the decision.
My personal experience is when I started at my current job where we do not automation at all and testing happens after deployment. Our product is complex and I am having time pressure to put some automation in place.
How we go about to solve this problem is to find the top 20 pages which equals to 90% of usage. We then analyze the data and pages and put them into a logical user flow. With that we then translate that into BDD language and automate the scenario based on it.
How To Stay Alive
So software testing has changed so much and it is constantly changing just like everything is. How can we keep up with this?
We need to constantly learn. Don’t worry if there isn’t enough training budget (management will like me once more), as learning doesn’t always cost $.
There are many different channels that we can learn which are free. These are some of my personal likes.
My personal experience with learning are: Examples:
• New tool: Appium by Jonathan Lipps at GTAC 2013
• New ideas: Take flaky tests from CI. Put is back when they are stable. Critical tests should never be taken out by Ankit Mehta at GTAC 2014
• New ideas: Turn off a feature that is buggy by Ankit Mehta at GTAC 2014
I then I like to Blog about what I have learnt. Its not just serves to share with people what I’ve learned, but also to keep a note on what I’ve learnt.
We also need to get our hands dirty and get some hands on experience with what we learned. We can only really learn something when we work on it and gain experience from it. When I face problems I will post questions onto forums like StackOverflow, or Google forums.
Lastly, share and give back to the community what we learnt. Try to help people out there that are learning just like us.
And most important of all is to love what do! As what Steve Jobs says.Thank you.