Paired Testing: Two Is Better Than One

January 27th, 2016 by Ashley Hunsberger

Paired programming brings two developers together to produce higher quality code compared to those same two engineers coding separately. Just as paired programming has someone writing code while another person reviews the code as it is being written, paired testing has someone doing the testing while another person takes notes, asks questions, and spots/reports bugs. I’ve personally found paired testing to foster creativity, maintain focus, provide a new way to teach others, and help release better software in general. Two testers are better than one.

Pick a partner!

It’s probably important to note that not all people actually like to pair up. Let’s face it, many of us work in a world of introverts. Some people just don’t like to talk, or share their personal space. That said, there are a few good pairings you can look at: (more…)

A Functional Tester Looks at Performance

January 15th, 2016 by Ashley Hunsberger

Even if you aren’t directly responsible for performance, it is important to consider it under the umbrella of quality. As a tester, how do you move forward and help drive performance quality (especially when you are new to this area, like me)? What are the ramifications of not considering performance within QA? Let’s take a look at what performance is, the questions QA can ask during design and implementation, some of the types of testing that can be done, and making performance part of your acceptance criteria (and, therefore, part of your Definition of Done).

What is software performance, and why is it important?

As an end user, I think of performance as just how fast or stable something is. If I click on something, does it take forever to load in a website? Does my app crash every time I try to open it or submit something? Do I give up and find a better solution to meet my needs? Of course we want a feature to work, but do we think about the system holistically?


The Importance of a Triage Team

December 30th, 2015 by Joe Nolan

I grew up watching shows like M*A*S*H, and Emergency!. Doctor and paramedic characters would perform triage of injuries and determine which ones were critical and which could wait. If you think about it, bugs in a feature are like injuries to your code, and when they are discovered, they too need to be triaged. Without triage, bug tickets can add time to your development process and even cause invalid fixes. Every development team should triage their bugs!

Just What Does a Triage Team Do on a Development Team?

How many times have you worked on a bug that says something like “this feature is broken”? You might think this is an exaggeration, but it’s really not too far off. Especially if your team conducts bug bashes with users who don’t normally write tickets. This will either start a round-and-round process of different team members clarifying the ticket, or worse, a developer will take it upon him or herself to fix what he or she THINKS is implied. All of this is a time suck to the team.

On the other hand, how many times have you wondered why some tickets are being worked while more critical tickets are just sitting there? How frustrating is that? This happens frequently if tickets are not prioritized and put into the backlog.

A good triage team prevents all of this!


Free (and Almost Free) Training for QA Engineers

December 17th, 2015 by Joe Nolan

Do you have a manual QA team that needs training to become automation engineers, but you don’t have the budget? Many of us are facing this same obstacle in a time of scarce talent. If you are a QA manager looking to upgrade your team, or a QA analyst looking to make the career move into automation, here is a guide to free and cheap online classes that can help.

Make Use of (Almost) Free Knowledge!

I am constantly amazed by just how many people in our industry are not aware of all of the valuable resources at their fingertips (literally). Google and YouTube can provide you with instant answers and demonstrations, but if you’d like a deeper understanding of tools and languages, I recommend (sometimes) free, online classes.

I first delved into this arena with when I wanted to take some basic refresher classes. I love this site and still have about 2-3 active classes in progress at any given time. I have found that I need multiple teaching methods to get lessons through my thick skull. Sometimes I find myself not quite grasping a concept. I sometimes watch a video over and over, but something might not quite click. In my search to enhance the subject I stumbled on even more course offerings in many different formats. It turns out there is a whole online course world where you can spend your time chasing your technological fountain of youth.

Let’s categorize them into four course types:

  • Subscription-Based – pay a monthly or yearly fee and have unlimited access to all courses
  • One-Time Charge – buy a course or a series of courses
  • Classroom-Based – free online courses based on actual college degrees
  • Free Online – anything from tutorials to videos and free curriculum