Part 3 in the series on how wisely designed pairwise testing plans can help when faced with a combinatorial explosion (part 1, Combinatorial Explosions Explained (Software Testing Example), part 2, How Many Pairwise Tests Required (In the Face of Combinatorial Explosions)).
This webcast continuing from where, Combinatorial Explosions Explained (Software Testing Example), left off.
This video shows how well designed test plans can achieve full pairwise testing coverage with a very small number of tests. And as the total number of permutations increase exponentially as more parameters and parameter values are added properly designed test plans can provide full pairwise coverage with very few tests.
This is not possible for a person to manually do but using the right algorithms to create a test plans can provide amazing benefits.
Related: More Coverage, Fewer Tests™ – 84% of Software Defects Found in Production Could Have Been Found Using Pairwise Testing – Looking at the Empirical Evidence for Using Pairwise and Combinatorial Software Testing – How to Pack More Coverage Into Fewer Software Tests – How Do You Know You are Executing the Right software Tests?
Hans Buwalda gave this presentation on Soap Opera Testing at the Hexawise software testing talks during StarEast 2017.
Quote from Hans’ article explaining Soap Opera Testing:
The end users were the people with the most practical knowledge, but they had no IT or QA background. The testers lacked the proper financial background and the day-to-day experience. To solve this, the testers and end users were asked to sit together in small work groups (four to five people each) and come up with stories based on the most extreme examples that had happened, or that could happen in practice. Imagination was invited and exaggeration was welcome. To help the process, I asked the groups to imagine that they were writing soap operas.
Michael Bolton (from the video):
I am so excited by Hans’ presentation… He has touched on this fork, and the fork is, are we going to confirm repeatedly, relentlessly, the same stuff, that we have seen over and over and over again (which I worry sometimes the action word stuff drives us into) or are we going to do really exciting stuff that soap opera is good for. Which is to actually investigate what happens when things are non-routine and things are non-routine far more often than we believe. I love the soap opera concept, I absolutely love it.
Exploratory testing is all about curiosity. If you are not curious you do not find bugs…
Hans also mentions “exploratory test design” where you think about the business (not the User Interface UI).
This idea of planning exploratory testing is often overlooked. It is important to think about the critical business rules and how those ideas should be tested. Planning out areas and concepts that need to be covered during exploratory testing is important. Soap Opera Testing can help with this, as can Hexawise test plans which help you consider interaction effects.
It is impractical in many situations for testers to test every possible permutation of software tests.
In this video Justin Hunter, the founder of Hexawise, explains how combinatorial explosions impact software testing. He explains how to quickly calculate the total possible number of permutations exist in simplified systems under test using several examples.
The video ends with a reference to a continuation of this discussion in the next video: How Many Pairwise Tests Required (In the Face of Combinatorial Explosions).
Kathleen Poulsen spoke on using Combinatorial Software Testing at Fidelity Investments during the StarEAST conference in 2017.
Hexawise sponsored an evening gathering with short talks on software testing by various experts. Kathleen discussed the use of Hexawise at Fidelity Investments, as seen in this video.
We hope you enjoy this video. We plan on added several more from the speakers at the evening sessions.
Kathleen, in the video:
We had more than 20,000 less than 30,000 test cases that were in place. 95% of them were redundant; either with the integration layer below them or themselves because people would come on board for 6 months and they would quit and go somewhere else and someone else would come along and reinvent exactly the same test.
I could see that now. When we went with in Hexawise we could see how many tests it actually took and just so small compared to what we had been testing. The first time I ran the full suite of [new Hexawise designed] tests I went back an hour later and I told the manager “we’re done you can move ahead you’re all right now.” By “move ahead” I meant promote to a new environment. And he said, “what, I thought I would see you again in 2 weeks.
That’s the kind of difference it is making.
This interview with Santhosh Tuppad is part of our series of “Testing Smarter with…” interviews. Our goal with these interviews is to highlight insights and experiences as told by many of the software testing field’s leading thinkers.
Santhosh Tuppad fell in love with computers when he was 12 and since then his love for computers has increased exponentially. He founded his first startup in 2010 and was part of growing the company to nearly 80 people.
In short, he is a passionate software tester, security researcher, entrepreneur and badass in following his heart come what may!
Hexawise: What drew you into a career in software testing?
Santhosh: I have loved computers since I was 12. My father enrolled me into a computer course and I got to experience Disk Operating System for the first time where I used computer using command-line terminal and also played Prince Of Persia game. And I was addicted to gaming during this phase.
After my gaming stint, I was introduced to the internet and picked up an addiction for IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Here, I met various hackers and used to communicate with them on various channels which were heavily moderated and were invite only. I had to demonstrate my interest in hacking to these folks to invite me to their channel. My first hack was to hack the dial-up network credentials and use them at my home when the internet shop used to close at night. We used to have Internet Packs at those times in India and I had to pay money to buy those: and I did not have money during my teenage years.
Without much ado, let’s skip to software testing part. After my graduation, I did not know what should I be doing (one thing I knew for sure was, anything that I do has to be with computers as I was passionate). I switched 5 jobs in 1 month and worked as IBM technical support guy, Creative Designer, XML Language Translator, PHP Developer and some other profession that I cannot remember as of now. I understood that, I cannot settle for anything which doesn’t synchronize with my heart. I was on the journey of finding which becomes part of me. And finally, I enrolled for the software testing course. And during the course days, I could connect my hacking skills (security testing) to software testing. This part of my life is what I call finding bliss.
And the story continued and I started growing in the industry as a tester, international speaker, participant in conferences across the globe, entrepreneur in software testing, keynote speaker, blogger, author and what not.
Hexawise: If you could write a letter and send it back in time to yourself when you were first getting into software testing, what advice would you include in it?
Oh my dear soul,
I see that you have found yourself in a country where everyone is pressurized to become something else than they want to be. You identified something crucial and beautiful about yourself, that is you follow your heart with patience and kindness and don’t settle for something that doesn’t make you come alive. Like I know, passion is a variable and it may get boring at times; but being bored is just a temporary phase and an emotion which doesn’t mean your passion is dead. So, be rational and decide for yourself while you are kind to others. Accept yourself and forgive everyone.
You are stepping into what you love and I know you are confident about your journey and you believe in it. That’s beautiful.
It may be easy to fall into routine and get into monotony of things in your career. Nevertheless, you know how to sail through things and get out of them to start fresh or continue in a different path. You can swiftly shift based on your visceral.
Grow by following your visceral feelings and have no regrets. Be good at connecting the dots and growing out of them. The beauty of software testing has not been known by the world so well as of today, so work on your skills and demonstrate them to the world and educate professionals and students about the greatness of software testing. It’s not about you or me or anyone, it’s about next generation testers who could help their next generation and their generation to enjoy the fruit of invention which includes software. Let software make the life beautiful and not buggy.
I know that you know about your journey, but I am just saying.
Your other self
Hexawise: Describe a testing experience you are especially proud of. What discovery did you make while testing and how did you share this information so improvements could be made to the software?
Carrie Puterbaugh’s presentation at the Twin Cities Quality Assurance Association on using Hexawise to improve software testing at her organization (a large bank).
In one example she discusses in the video Carrie’s team used Hexawise to create an optimized test suite and provided that to the software vendor to have them run it prior to delivering the software to her bank. In this example historically they vendor was finding 67% of the defects and Carrie’s bank was finding 33%. Now that the vendor is using the Hexawise test suite the vendor is finding 98.5% of the defects and fixing them prior to delivering the software.
Based on these results her team was able to move staff off of testing this application and onto other testing needs of the organization. They are saving 90% of what they used to spend on QA on this project.
Another project she talked about was a high priority and high risk release that they used Hexawise on and achieved the highest quality software release they have ever had.
It was great…
We were able to go to management and say “we reduced the amount of test cases we ran and we got a better quality application.
How Do You Know You are Executing the Right Tests? This video shows a few tools in Hexawise that help answer this question and share the reasoning behind prioritization decisions in software testing (coverage chart, coverage matrix).
The Hexawise coverage matrix displays pairwise coverage as each test is run in the test plan. The Hexawise created test plans also put the tests in order that provides the most coverage as quickly as possible (so if you have to release before you finish the test plan you have achieved as much coverage as possible with the tests you managed to execute).
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Kathleen Poulsen of Fidelity Investments gave a presentation at STAREAST 2017 sharing her experience using Hexawise to improve their software testing performance.
We were able to reduce from over 12,000 test to 600 tests.
Those 12,000 tests provided unknown but less than full pairwise test coverage. Using Hexawise Fidelity generated just 600 test cases that provided complete pairwise testing coverage.
A big gain for Fidelity was that the testing teams using Hexawise were able to compare and coordinate testing coverage. For example, previously the UI and services teams could not effectively communicate test plan coverage and that resulted in a great deal of duplicated testing. Now they can communicate with each other easily and coordinate their testing plans using Hexawise.