“5 Ways DevOps complements Agile” – As an industry practitioner who has worked in agile for almost a decade now, I have always seen DevOps as a friend and an extension of agile. Using this article I have tried to put across my view on how this handshake between developers and operations personnel works in favor of bridging the gap from software creation to software delivery.-
CP-SAT stands for “Certified Practitioner – Selenium Automation Testing” is a certification prepared and honoured by “Agile Testing Alliance” & “University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)”, which is the Selenium training course I have been conducting in Bangalore. We conducted a public batch over the last weekend as well as a corporate batch this month where participants got to build, enhance and maintain the scripts in Eclipse IDE and Selenium 3.x WebDriver.
Training Approach: This course is designed to train agile professionals with the basics of testing web applications using Selenium leading to advanced topics. I approached the training as a combination of theory as well as hands-on execution of scripts using the features of Selenium with ample time given to practice and kept the focus on the practical application of Selenium to resolve common web automated testing challenges.
Agenda: This course focuses on latest Selenium 3.x, its advantages, WebDriver 3.x configuration and execution related concepts using JUnit and TestNG frameworks, Selenium Reporting mechanism, Data Driven Testing, getting started with Selenium Grid concepts, handling various types of web elements, iframes, dynamic lists etc. To know more about course syllabus – please click here
Course Schedule: The course consists of 3 full days of training, hands on assignments and practical, continuing on later with 5 days of 2-hour web sessions live with the trainer for more learning and queries and clarifications. Thereafter the candidates are given a mock exam to attempt which gives an idea about the real certification exam. The final exam consists of 2 sections – Theory which is Online Objective type Quiz and Practical which a 2 hour exam with given case studies implementation and submission.
We have received tremendous response from the CP-SAT training batches and many more interested candidates for upcoming scheduled training sessions at Bangalore.
Here is a sneak peek into the training room and also some wonderful feedback shared by our candidates-
Continuing the discussion on the Hawaii Missile Alert which made headlines in January 2018 and turned out to be a false alarm and ended up raising panic amongst almost a million people of the state all for nothing, (read here for detailed report) I would like to bring back the focus on implications of poor software design leading to such human errors.
Better software design is aimed at making the software easier to use, fit for its purpose and improving the overall experience of the user. While software design focuses on making all features easily accessible, understandable and usable, it also can be directed at making the user aware of all possibilities and implications before performing their actions. Certain actions, if critical, can and should be made more discrete than the others, may have added security or authorisations and visual hints indicating their critical nature.
Some of the best designers at freelancer.com came together to brainstorm ideas for better software design and to revamp the Hawaii government’s inept designs. They ran a contest amongst themselves to come up with the best designs that could avoid such a fiasco in future.
Sarah Danseglio, from East Meadow, New York, took home the $150 grand prize, while Renan M. of Brazil and Lyza V. of the Philippines scored $100 and $75 for coming in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Here is a sneak peek into how they designed the improved system :Read More »
Here is my experience report on using Tours in my testing project-
WHAT ARE TOURS —
In testing, a tour is an exploration of a product that is organized around a theme. Tours bring structure and direction to exploration sessions, so they can be used as a fundamental tool for exploratory testing. They’re excellent for surfacing a collection of ideas that you can then further explore in depth one at a time, and they help you become more familiar with a product—leading to better testing.
I had just started working with a new product, a web-based platform that was a fairly complex system with a large number of components, each with numerous features. Going into each component and inside every feature would take too much time; I needed a quick, broad overview and some feedback points I could share as queries or defects with my team.
I realized my exploration of the application would need some structure around it. Using test sessions and predefined charters, I could explore set areas and come back with relevant observations—I had discovered tours.
Cem Kaner describes tours as an exploration of a product that is organized around a theme. Tours help bring structure and a definite direction to exploration sessions, so they can be used as a fundamental tool for exploratory testing.
Tours are excellent for surfacing a collection of ideas that you can then further explore in depth one at a time. Tours testing provides a structure to the tester on the way they go about exploring the system, so they can have a particular focus on each part and not overlook a component. The structure is combined with a theme of the tour, which provides a base for the kind of questions to ask and the type of observations that need to be made.
In the course of conducting a tour, testers can find bugs, raise questions, uncover interesting aspects and features of the software, and create models, all done on the basis of the theme of the tour being performed.
Let’s discuss some common types of tours that are useful for testers and look at some examples.
As a part of the webinar series by Agile Testing Alliance (ATA) , I will be conducting a webinar on the topic “Strengthening your Agility with BDD – A Demo using Cucumber”. Here I will discuss the practical issues in agile teams and the use of Behavior Driven Development to overcome them. I shall also demo a basic BDD framework using Cucumber as a tool and showcase a practical test scenario.
The webinar will cover –
Practical issues faced by Agile teams
QA issues in fast paced agile
Behavior Driven Development – the definition and need
Extending the Agile User stories and acceptance criteria in BDD scenarios
Software impacts human lives – let us put more thought into it!
Here is what happened and my take on how software design may have been partly responsible and could be improved >>
Miami state in the US received a massive panic attack on Saturday the 13th of January 2018. More than a million people in Hawaii were led to fear that they were about to be struck by a nuclear missile due to circulation of a message sent out by the state emergency management. The message sent state wide just after 8 a.m. Saturday read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
The residents were left in a state of panic. People started scrambling to get to safe places, gathering supplies and even saying their goodbyes. Some took shelter in manholes, some gathered their kids into the most sheltered rooms in their homes like bathrooms or basements, some huddled in their closets and some sent out goodbye messages to their loved ones.
Turned out it was a false alert. Around 40 minutes later, the agency sent out another message saying that it was a false alarm sent out by mistake!
The questions being asked was – how could this happen and why did it take 40 minutes to check and issue an all clear?
Why Did This Happen?
Investigations into the incident were revealed and the governor stated that “It was a procedure that occurs at the change of shift which they go through to make sure that the system is working, and an employee pushed the wrong button.”
The error occurred when, in the midst of a drill during a shift change at the agency, an employee made the wrong selection from a “drop-down” computer menu, choosing to activate a missile launch warning instead of the option for generating an internal test alert. The employee, believing the correct selection had been made, then went ahead and clicked “yes” when the system’s computer prompt asked whether to proceed.
Analysing the Root Cause
But is the fault only at human level? The software being used for such critical usage also needs to help out to avoid the possibility of such human errors.
After all triggering such a massive state-wide emergency warning should not have been as simple as push of a wrong button by a single person!
Could a better design of the software have prevented this kind of scenario from happening?
As reported, the incorrect selection was made in a dropdown – which lets imagine would look something like this-
After the selection was made, the system sent a prompt and the employee, believing the correct selection had been made, then went ahead and clicked “yes”.
So by this information we can assume that the prompt would have been something generic like
Though it definitely is a human error but isn’t the system also at fault for letting this happen so easily?
Better Design Ideas – More Thought – Improving Your Software
By putting in some extra thought into design of the software we can make it more robust to avoid such incidents.
Here are some things that could have helped design it better –
Do not have the TEST options placed right next to the ACTUAL emergency options!
Have different fields or perhaps different sub menus inside the dropdown as categories.
>> Always have the TEST category of warnings higher up in the list
>>Have the Default Selection in the dropdowneither as BLANK or as one of the TEST warnings and not the actual ones
>>Having the actual warnings section lower down and separated away from the similarly worded TEST warning would ensure lower chance of wrongful selection of the similar named option from the dropdown
The prompt message must be made unique to each scenario and in case of selecting a real warning issue action, the prompt must ask the user to specify the emergency.
>>Make the prompt appear critical with use of color and text
>>A critical prompt must catch the user’s attention and not be similar to the other screens and popups of the system, to avoid the possibility of clicking on it in a hurry.
>>Placement of Yes and No buttons on unusual sides (Yes is on the left which is not typical) avoids the click of the button – also used Red and Green to signify the importance situation. Red is the usual code for danger.
Additional level of authorisation must be added to the scenarios of real emergency warnings being issued. So, for the TEST actions, user may proceed and begin the drill but in case they select ACTUAL warning then the steps take it to another level of authorisation where another employee – a peer or a senior- reviews the action and performs the final warning issue.
>>This prevents erroneous actions and also some possibility of hackers or notorious people issuing false warnings just by gaining access via one user.
>>Define your hierarchy of users or approvals for each case of emergency.
These ideas may sound basic but all these are components of good Usability of the software, its appropriateness of purpose and setting up basic security in usage of the application.
We are just playing around human psychology, easier understand-ability and attention spans.
Let us endeavour to give a little more ‘thought’ to the system
Software test professionals have shouldered the responsibility of ensuring a quality software delivery. With the advent of agile, testers in agile teams have had a lot more in their plate. Instead of being a quality ‘gateway’ or checkpoint at the end of the software development life cycle, they have become an integral part of each and every phase of creation.
As I like to say, testers are key to the team’s agility and have a crucial part to play in the success of the project as well the team’s agile journey.
Agile talks about the ‘3 amigos’ – the Business Analyst, the developer and the tester – all working together to bring a user story to life. To understand the user’s perspective on each and every requirement, a tester can play a crucial role by thinking ahead, asking the right questions during story grooming and design discussions and testing the most probable and useful paths while execution.
QA professionals are also required to think from the user’s chair and provide constant feedback during continuous involvement in usability testing, cognitive walkthroughs, focus groups and surveys etc.
Overall, an agile tester needs to think of the customers as their amigos, have a taste of their experiences, keep note of their problems and bring out the best in the software to keep their buddy happy!
Learning Areas: Requirement Analysis, Use Cases and User Stories, Usability study, End-to-end testing, exploratory testing and test techniques
Keep a check on the ‘Behavior’
The requirements from the market need quick gathering, distillation and development which require collaboration between the entire set of stakeholders in short time scales.
Behavior Driven Development (BDD) uses the concept of ubiquitous language or a semi-formal language which is shared by all team members including developers, testers, business analysts and other non-technical stakeholders. It makes use of simple domain specific language to convert natural requirements into executable tests.
BDD is definitely catching up in the market because of its outside-in, multiple stakeholder and high automation approach suitable to agile projects. So, all my tester buddies, get your hands into BDD and related tools!
Learning Areas: Basics of TDD, BDD, Cucumber, ATDD, Fitnesse, building a Test automation framework
Spin the wheels of ‘Continuous Testing’
Software delivery timelines have reduced tremendously and to meet the expectations of quick delivery and deployments, software testing has to become a part of the delivery pipeline. The advent of DevOps has brought with it various tools to support CT as a part of CD which makes testers an integral part of the devops system. Software testers are required to participate in setting up and maintenance of sustainable test setups and environments, automate tests rapidly, set up and maintain the continuous testing pipeline.
Learning Areas: DevOps fundamentals, Configuration Management Tools, Build automation, Test automation tools and integration into devops pipeline
It is all black and white!
Testers focussing solely on ‘black’ box testing and only business level tests would need to think more ‘white’ now. The need of continuous testing can be met only by ensuring API level tests, and moving towards micro services testing which ensures easy test and deployment of new independent pieces of functionality in the code.
With faster delivery cycles, huge interdependencies of systems in real-time and regression overloads, functional tests are insufficient and impossible to run in isolation. For comprehensive tests, API testing will be the foremost requirement to verify dependencies on and with other applications and systems. Adding white box testing skills to their profile will not only be a value add to the resume, but also add an essential key piece to complete the ‘black and white’ picture.
Learning Areas: White Box testing basics, REST APIs, Unit test framework like JUnit, TestNG etc.
A tester’s role in an agile team is to provide assistance and support in all areas, so they may need to switch hats frequently, depending on the team’s needs. The success of this endeavour, though, also depends on an open, communicative, and receptive environment fostered within the team. Adding these new skills to your hat can help any agile tester bring more value to their team.
I was invited to present a guest talk at the meetup organised by ET Marlabs team for EUROSTAR 2017 on 9th Sep 2017- being the first of its kind in India and I gladly obliged! Presented a talk on Agile Manifesto and its learning for keen testers and answering our dilemmas in agile testing. The talk was very well received and brought out some great discussions with the participants. I was accompanied by another guest speaker Mr. Vinay Krishna who spoke about Behavior Driven Development BDD framework using Cucumber which was a very informative session too.
The team at ET Marlabs had also organised some great activities, testing relay game and quiz for the participants which brought out their testing minds and enthusiasm , which was well rewarded too! I would like to thank them for their kind invitation and would encourage them to organise and participate in more such community events!