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  • Blog Post: testing sucks

    Bet that got your attention. It's true, but let me qualify it: Running test cases over and over in the hope that bugs will manifest sucks. It’s boring, uncreative work and since half the world thinks that is all testing is about, it is no great wonder few people covet testing positions. Testing is either...
  • Blog Post: tour of the month: the intellectual's tour

    As promised, here is the first tour on the tour-of-the-month parade. It's probably not the best place to start, but it's finding so many good bugs for so many testers around the company that I wanted to get it in the hands of others sooner rather than later where it might make more logistical sense....
  • Blog Post: of moles and tainted peanuts

    There was a full page ad for Jif peanut butter in my morning paper that caught my attention. (For those non-US readers, our nation is experiencing a salmonella bacteria outbreak which has been traced back to contaminated peanuts.) The ad touted Jif’s rigorous testing processes and reassured readers that...
  • Blog Post: explaining exploratory testing

    I just got finished talking (actually the conversation was more like a debate) to a colleague, exploratory testing critic and a charter member of the plan-first-or-don’t-bother-testing-at-all society. I am happy to say, he conceded the usefulness (he would not grant superiority, if he had I would...
  • Blog Post: the Zune issue

    As you can imagine there is a pretty lively debate going on over the Zune date math issue here in the hallways and on our internal mailing lists. There are plenty of places one can find analyses of the bug itself, like here , but I am more interested in the testing implications. One take: this is...
  • Blog Post: google v. microsoft, and the dev:test ratio debate

    Every since I gave a talk at Google’s GTAC event here in Seattle this past October, I’ve had the chance to interact with a number of Google testers comparing and contrasting our two companies’ approach to testing. It’s been a good exchange. Now it seems that, their toilets notwithstanding, Google...
  • Blog Post: no more testers?

    I gave a keynote at EuroSTAR on the future of software testing where I began by painting a picture of the promise of software as an indispensible tool that will play a critical role in solving some of humankind’s most vexing problems. Software, I argued, provides the magic necessary to help scientists...
  • Blog Post: manual v. automated testing again

    In my Future series I was accused of supporting both sides of the manual v. automated debate and flip-flopping like an American politician who can’t decide whether to kiss the babies or their moms. Clearly this is not an either-or proposition. But I wanted to supply some clarity in how I think about...
  • Blog Post: the manual v. automated testing debate

    There's an angle to this debate that I missed during the prevention v. cure series I did last month. It surfaced in a lunchtime conversation I had today with two test managers in our e-home division (these are the guys that test the Media Center PC and other such delights). Michael Friend, a Group Test...
  • Blog Post: prevention v. cure (part 5)

    Ok, we're getting to the end of this thread and probably the part that most of you have asked about: exploratory testing, particularly how it is practiced at Microsoft. We define four types of exploratory testing. This isn’t meant as a taxonomy, it’s simply for convenience, but it underscores that...
  • Blog Post: “if Microsoft is so good at testing, why does your software suck?”

    What a question! I only wish I could convey the way that question is normally asked. The tone of voice is either partially apologetic (because many people remember that I was a major ask-er of that same question long before I became an ask-ee) or it’s condescending to the point that I find myself smiling...
  • Blog Post: prevention v. cure (part 4)

    Manual testing is human-present testing. A human tester using their brain, their fingers and their wit to create the scenarios that will cause software either to fail or to fulfill its mission. Manual testing often occurs after all the other types of developer and automated techniques have already had...
  • Blog Post: prevention v. cure (part 3)

    Now that the testers are once again gainfully employed, what shall we do with them? Do we point them toward writing test automation or ask them to do manual testing? First, let’s tackle the pros and cons of test automation. Automated testing carries both stigma and respect. The stigma comes from...
  • Blog Post: the poetry of testing

    God Save the Queen! (A curious statement … from my American point of view. But given what history has recorded of certain of England’s Kings I’ll grant the gender bias. Anyway, Save Her all the same as she presides over a country of such glorious breweries!) If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m...
  • Blog Post: prevention v. cure (part 2)

    Ok, re-hire the testers. Perhaps you’ve noticed but the whole prevention thing isn’t working so well. Failures in software are running rampant. Before I talk about where we should invest our resources to reverse this trend, I want to talk about why prevention fails. I see a number of problems,...
  • Blog Post: prevention v. cure (part 1)

    Developer testing, which I call prevention because the more bugs devs find the fewer I have to deal with is often compared to tester testing ( J ) which I call detection . Detection is much like a cure, the patient has gotten sick and we need to diagnose and treat it before it sneezes all over our users...
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