Experience report provided by Rajesh Mathur

3/14/12 Hong Kong

AST’s Grant program sponsored a group of software testers for an evening of dinner and discussion. The question of the night: How to Improve Effectiveness of Testing?

Before divulging the details of our discussion, here’s a little context about this particular group of testers. We met through LinkedIn on the Hong Kong & China Software Testing Group. Those in attendance were:

  • Rajesh Mathur, Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Nick Beswick, Consultant
  • Olaf Laue, Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Shashi Kant, Consultant
  • Steve Wombell, CEO, Packet Mechanics Ltd
  • David Crownhurst, Consultant
  • Akhil Rao, Consultant
  • Ishrat Ali, Consultant

We met on a beautiful private residential island called Discovery Bay at a German Restaurant near Hong Kong International Airport.

After a brief period of appetizers and introductions, I introduced everyone to the mission statement of AST to begin the discussion.

“The Association for Software Testing is dedicated to advancing the understanding of the science and practice of software testing according to Context-Driven principles.”

From there we launched into the concept of what is meant by Context-Driven principles. I made an example of Notepad application & the mission & life critical Aircraft communication program that I am managing currently. I asked, “Are you going to test both applications/systems same way or would you like to weigh context and test the aircraft program thoroughly?”  People got the idea what context driven approach is.

We then focused on the agenda and everyone jumped into the discussion suggesting ways to improve the effectiveness of testing. It was very interesting that we all had many ideas and all were agreeing that there is no silver bullet to kill the ineffectiveness. It was indeed difficult for me to consolidate ideas on a piece of paper considering the continuous exchange of views and the enthusiasm in participants to share their experiences with others.

The ways suggested to improve the effectiveness of testing have been highlighted below:

  • The skill of testers is important
  • There is a need to continuous update & upgrade of testing skills by testers
  • Testing methodologies should be context-driven and should fit for the purpose
  • The improvement should begin at the requirement level
  • Coders are equally responsible for improving the quality of product
  • Testers should employ techniques that let them find hidden bugs. E.g. Exploratory testing
  • Situational awareness is very important for testers and they should not be blindfolded by rigid written processes
  • Bug reports are important as they can reveal many improvement areas
  • Where required, appropriate processes needs to be followed

Overall, it was a great evening where people interested in testing and its advancement gathered and added some value around the challenging intellectual process called software testing. I summed up by saying that this meeting has started a new era for software testing in Hong Kong.

Thanks to AST for your support and thanks all of the participants for their contributions.

Check out photos and videos from this event!