State of Unit Testing in Pakistan – Survey results

The results from the survey are in and they are very encouraging.

It suggests that around 60% of the teams have Unit Testing practice in one way or other with around 20% say that they love Unit Testing. By the way, I really liked the Pie chart become in a nice shape and appears to be outcome of a testing report!

SurveyResults

As always, the results are not complete until we analyze from where the data came. So here are the notes:

  • There were 40 respondents, so this is in no way true reflection of all Industry. I wish I could get more coverage as I did for the Tester Income. But you know people are more interested in that subject than Unit Testing.
  • Another quick insight into results is that overall survey hits are about double. So half the audience decided not to answer the survey. Either they didn’t want to look bad by saying “No, one does that” or they trusted the other replies.
  • And the result came from all places. 47% were Testers, 32% were Programmers and rest were all scattered. They featured CEOs, CTOs and Business people.
  • There were just a couple replies from outside Pakistan which were not included but I really appreciate the response.

So my friends, as I mentioned that our IT industry is maturing and let’s put our part in making Pakistan a place that produces Quality Software

What is your take away from this survey? And what other topics you would like our blog to survey?

 

State of Unit Testing in Pakistan – Survey

Pakistan IT industry is on the rise. Some are making way as a brand of their own where as many young ones are emerging. Even the theme of OPEN Islamabad’s Annual event for 2014 was ‘Celebrating Entrepreneurs”.

One sign of a maturing IT industry is that it becomes Quality conscious. Not in the terms of having a Quality Policy or having catchy phrases as company’s motto but following certain practices at the heart of it’s business. The heart of software producers is to “write code” and it only becomes better by taking lot of steps towards excellence. Writing unit tests is one of them.

That is the reason that in recent conversations with my fellows in Islamabad, I hear a lot about their journey towards adapting unit testing. But at times your echo chambers can lead you to a world based on illusions and not on reality. The best way to know the reality is to ask around and that is what Knowledge Tester is doing through this survey just like we found the reality on Tester’s income in Pakistan.

Would you mind filling in this 2 minute survey on the state of Unit Testing in Pakistan:

https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/obCN3z

You can even fill it even if you are from elsewhere by mentioning your country name. And stay tuned for the results that follow in two week’s time.

And can you help me spread this word? Thanks in advance.

Unit testing, what?

On my mission to promote quality, I’m visiting one place after another and talking to one group of people to another. As I talk about Software Quality as a shared responsibility, the concept of “Three Amigos”, Agile testing quadrants, and more; one thing is common: “No one wants to get out of the comfort zone”.

For example, when I suggest Testers to learn the technology they are testing and write some code to automate repetitive testing and testing process, they shy away from writing code. Similarly when I ask Programmers to take some responsibility and start writing Unit testing and try approaches like TDD, the expressions on their faces are not very encouraging. There are many discussions out there and I’m adding some concerns that I recently heard and my attempts to answer them:

“I’m on a project that is in production for multiple years. The code base has matured enough through rounds of testing that adding unit tests won’t add value”

The decision to write unit tests is not based on how many years the code base has been in production but on the basis of how many years the code base will stay in production. If you write some tests today for the bugs found so far in the system, the next deliveries will remain safe from those bugs. Remember the time, when you changed code to fix a bug and another bug poked it’s nose from some other place. If you have tests for them, you have that “safety net” that allows to do modifications to the code with more liberty.

“Well, I’ve tried TDD on our newest project but it seems to be a Productivity killer. I’m afraid that TDD doesn’t work well on green field projects”

In fact Test Driven Development is more suited for green field projects.

My experience being a Tester, the receiving end of Quality is that:

The bugs found in projects with TDD/Unit testing is about half compared to Projects with no Unit tests.

The reason you are seeing some productivity loss is that you are seeing the investment in writing tests as a repetitive investment where as it is a diminishing investment. As the time passes by and you run your set of tests again and again, the time needed to maintain existing tests/ add new tests will be lesser. And more importantly the “unknown” time that will be added to the project when testing team finds bugs (not covered in unit tests) is actually being planned into your work automatically.

Let’s take the following as example:

Project A incorporates TDD practice and this is how the time is spent in Coding vs. Testing+Debugging where blue is coding and yellow is the other part. Where as Project B doesn’t incorporate TDD and this is how it’s time is spent over a period of four months. These are hypothetical times but from experience, I can tell that the Yellow time remains mostly smaller in projects like Project A compared to the likes of Project B.

Unit Testing vs No Unit Testing

“So you are saying that as a Programmer, I write tests for my own code. So if I write tests to verify my understanding of the system, how those tests will add value?”

Right and you’ll be surprised of how your understanding starts improving as you write tests. Actually when you write tests, you more and more think like “how the user will use this feature?” rather than “how should I design the feature?” This brings in added checks and improved functionality.

What concerns do you hear and how do you answer them?

Tester Diaries – Applying SFDPOT Heuristic

(This is a guest post by Ridha*)

Welcome back to the Tester diaries. As you know that I am a student of BS in Software Engineering and learning software testing in interesting ways.

Now a days, I am working on my Final Year Project (FYP) and I wanted to design its test cases in parallel with development. Through the Knowledge Tester’s guidance, I came to know about SFDPOT and I was suggested to use this thought provoking heuristic for designing tests. As we all know heuristics not always find the best solution but these are some tricks to make our work easy.

SFDPOT letters stand for Structure, Function, Data, Platform, Operations and Time.  Read in detail about SFDPOT at: http://www.satisfice.com/articles/sfdpo.shtml and have a look at one example here: http://www.slideshare.net/karennjohnson/kn-johnson-2012-heuristics-mnemonics . (Note: the latest version of this heuristic is now SFDiPOT where i stands for Interface)

SFDPOT helped me to organize my understanding of testing my FYP in form of a mind map. My FYP name is CureJunction and I have plans to make it live one day at http://www.CureJunction.com . This will be a website that helps us find doctors with their specialty in our locality and then let us book online appointment with them. Many more functionalities will be provided at this website and I categorized them in the mind map that is shown below. It took me four sheets of paper and a multiple of four hours to come up with the final version :)

SFDPOT

Do let me know how it is helpful for you? And how I can make it even better?

(Ridha Malik is becoming a Knowledge Tester while completing her BS in Software Engineering from University of Engineering & Technology, Taxila, Pakistan. As she explores the field, she is sharing her experiences as Tester Diaries and this is second edition of her thoughts. The first one was about Exploratory Testing.)

Recapping 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. I’m very thankful to all my visitors and dedicate this report to them!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Testing Mobile Apps

Many predictions are going on so as what will be the top technology trends for 2015 , but surely one of the top trends of 2014 was (further) boom of Mobile Apps. We now hear Apple’s catchy phrase in almost every conversation “there is an App for that”. And one of the questions is how do we test these apps and I presented some thoughts about it a few weeks ago. Here is a summary.

Phone

(picture curtsey of HubSpot free images: http://offers.hubspot.com/free-stock-photos )

Given that the development life cycle of a mobile apps is any thing from 1 week to few months, it looks like that testing should be easy as there is less development effort. Also when we think that an App is limited in functionality compared to Applications, we somehow start believing that testing effort will also be limited as less features are there. In contrast, as elaborated by the matrix below taken from uTests’ excellent ebook on the subject, the complexity of the matrix is actually higher:

Problems like these brings in the value of testing the apps locally. Remember how Apple Maps App failed in areas where it didn’t work. And yesterday a friend of mine visiting from US showed that his weather app shows the location as Grand Trunk road while he was in a city on that few hundred miles long road.

The other point is Performance testing that either keeps a potential customer away from the app or forces them to reinstall app afterwards. The more important number is not the number of downloads but number of installed apps, so your apps should be sticky. Focused security testing will always be needed.

Since it was a short talk, I added some spice at the end by presenting some interesting ways to test which were taken from different sources but mainly from “Tap into mobile testing” book. These included trying things like Gesture Frenzy, or acting like a kid, or performing an All Hands testing day when all members of the team test the app. It is also very interesting to do Usability Testing through Personas  where you can classify your user base into different set of personalities and then pick some representatives to be acted while testing.

The whole presentation is here: Testing Mobile Apps

What tips do you have for mobile app testers?

Agile Testing and more

I was very happy to see ‘More Agile Testing’ book by the authors of ‘AgileTesting’ . Just finished ordering that and thought to share the learning experience with the first book.

When I got hold of the book, I was into my 3rd or 4th year of practicing SCRUM which is Agile and I had a firm belief that I am doing Agile Testing. But Lisa and Janet changed my mind by stating that “Testing on Agile Project is not Agile Testing”. Let me give an example that I came to explain this.

For example I am a Pakistani and embody all the cultural values that a usual Pakistani  would have. Now if a person starts living in Pakistan and spends a good number of years and then claims that she or he is Pakistani, would we believe? We’ll only believe if that person embodies all the values that would make a Pakistani, not simply by spending some good years here. Similarly Agile Testing is a mindset, a culture.

AgileTesting

So that was my first lesson and then I spent good enough time on different ideas shared in the book. My best three are:

The Power of three (or Three Amigos) concept. In almost all of my talks with students or professionals, I mention this notion of collaborating with all. It was glad to see that in slides talking about the new book, it is mentioned that Testers can pair with Testers, coders, business people, analyst, customers and so on. It is kind of taking the collaboration to the next level.

The next concept was breaking testing efforts in concept of Agile Testing Quadrants. I found it useful that when I work on a project, I lay down this chart for me and see if we are covering all the risks. Michael Bolton has recently talked about improving this model and I’m sure Lisa and Janet would talk more about the testing quadrants in the new book.

The third and last takeaway from the book was the notion of embracing change. The Agile practices were not introduced for fun but they were introduced to be able to deliver quality in a changing world. More and more testers understand how to work in changing project needs, more and more they and the projects will be successful. Exploratory Testing helps a lot in situations like these.

So I am very excited to read the new book as it arrives and will talk more about it soon. Have you read the first book and what are your favorites in that?

PS: By the way, the complete list of Key Success Factors from the Agile Testing book are:

  • Look at the Big Picture
  • Use the Whole-team approach
  • Adapt an Agile Testing mindset
  • Collaborate with Customers
  • Automate Regression Testing
  • Provide and Obtain Feedback
  • Build a Foundation of Core Agile Practices:
    • Continuous Integration
    • Test Environments
    • Manage Technical Debt
    • Working Incremently
    • Coding and Testing are part of one Process
    • Synergy between Practices
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