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Raj Subramanian

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Quite often there are some elements and attributes that change dynamically on a page. For example – Say you have a currency conversion application. Today, 1 US Dollar would be equal to 0.89 Euros. The same dollar could be 0.90 Euros the very next day; as they change dynamically on a daily basis. In Testim, you have the following ways to handle dynamically changing elements-

Tip 1: Validating Dynamically Changing Elements

Whenever you want to validate dynamically changing elements, Testim has export parameters to handle this situation. 

For example – Say you want to validate the price of your flight trip. The price changes dynamically on a daily basis based on multiple factors. In this case, you can use export parameters; where in, you can store the element in an export variable and use the variable in different steps as parameters and also use it to do different validations in a page.

Tip 2: Generating random values during run time

Quite often there is a need to generate random values containing text, numbers and certain prefixes during run time. This is possible using the generate random value step in Testim. The value gets stored in a variable name which can be used in other steps as well. By default the variable name is randomValue.

We recently hosted a webinar on Common Automation Pitfalls and Solutions with an awesome panel consisting of Jonathan Lipps, Philip Lew and me. There were a lot of great discussions on this topic and we wanted to share this with the community as well.

Several topics related to automation were covered in this webinar, including-

  • How automation fits in the SDLC?
  • Is the Testing Pyramid still relevant in this day and age?
  • How automation complements manual testing?
  • How it fits in the CI/CD pipeline?
  • How to come up with a good test automation strategy?
  • What are common pitfalls we fall into while doing test automation?
  • What are some good practices of automation to keep in mind?
  • What are the new trends in automation?

Automation is not a “one size fits all” solution. It does not solve all testing problems. It is just one aspect of the overall testing process. This webinar helps to instil that mindset. It will also be a good resource for all the testers starting to do test automation and experienced testers who are looking for more ideas to build and maintain robust automation frameworks.

Below are some quotes from the conversation-

Phil: “I think when we talk about automation strategy, a lot of folks start digging down really quickly and do tools and frameworks and things like that. But to me, I think that’s the easy part, the hard part, determining why and how are we going to show value?”

Johanthan: “Don’t call something a flake, investigate, figure out exactly what the problem is with it and then either fix that problem in your app or your infrastructure or consider doing away with the test entirely.”

Me: “When you’re trying to build automation frameworks try to also make it as simple as possible because in that way you can further avoid a lot of pitfalls in running and maintaining it.

Below is the recorded video of the webinar-

If you have any feedback or ideas for other webinar topics, we would love to hear that as well. You can email us at raj@testim.io and share them.

Introduction

We work hard to improve the functionality and usability of our autonomous testing platform to support your software quality initiatives. This month we’re thrilled to release a few of your most requested features; Multi Tab Indicator, Advanced Merge, Failed Test Retry Flag and Refresh Option. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Multi Tab Indicator

What is it?

You now have a numeric value that displays in the top right section of each step that executes in multiple tabs.

Why should I care?

There is no longer a need to open a step and look at the screenshots or other related information to know what tab the step ran on. With the tab number indication, the user has more visibility into test runs that involve multiple tabs/windows. Learn More

Advanced Merge

What is it?

When merging changes into a branch, a modal window will now pop up showing different changes that are being merged into the branch. The changes are categorized into Test, Shared Steps and Suites.

At the top level, users will be able to see what changed in each category – how many new items were created, updated, or deleted. Expanding each item, will display more details about individual changes.

Why should I care?

You now have better visibility and confidence before merging branches. All the details that are getting into the branch are clearly detailed in the modal window.

Failed Test Retry Flag

What is it?

When this flag is set, a failed test will be executed repeatedly until either the test passes or the max number of retries has been reached (in which case the test will finish execution with a failed status). This flag is passed in via the CLI by using the below syntax

––retries <max_num_of_retries>

Why should I care?

You now have the ability to re-run failed tests automatically, with the use of this flag. So even if a test fails once or twice because of some unexpected issues, it will automatically run again so that the test passes the next time.  

NOTE: When a test passes after one or more retries, it will be indicated in the UI as shown below

Refresh Option

What is it?

This new option will completely reload the page before proceeding to the next step.

Why should I care?

You no longer have to add custom action to reload the page. Now, there is a one click option to do it.

Testim gives you the flexibility to add regular expressions (RegEx) to help in easier string searching and validations.  It is extremely helpful in extracting required information from a web page or when there is a need to validate strings that has a portion of it changing dynamically.

For Example – Say you want to validate the label  “Price” in the below page.

The price value is going to change dynamically based on the itinerary booked; every time you run the test. So, if you want to ensure the label “Price” is displayed correctly in the page no matter what the price value maybe, RegEx can be of great help here.

You could add /^Price/ in the Expected Value Field in the properties panel of the Test Step; within Testim.  What this does is, it validates whether the text starts with the word “Price”, allowing the rest of the text to be dynamic and still pass the validation.

Commonly used RegEx and their syntax are as follows-

More references on how to use RegEx can be found below-

https://docs.testim.io/advanced-steps/advanced-text-validations

https://www.w3schools.com/jsref/jsref_obj_regexp.asp

https://regexone.com/



While working on our daily tasks in agile teams, we quite often have this feeling where we are working on multiple tasks all day long and at the end of day when we review our work, we realize we haven’t accomplished anything concrete. The main reason for this is, our work environments are filled with distractions from having unnecessary and unproductive meetings to people checking their messages on phones, emails and slack channels. As a result, we feel demotivated, less productive and burnt out by the end of the day.

After years of working in the tech industry and going through the above experiences, I decided to take a hiatus from my job and do some reflection on my personal and career growth. In 2017, I started a 6 month journey of self exploration and discovery. I read books, listened to podcasts on mindfulness, productivity, leadership and self-motivation and interviewed successful people. Finally, when I went back into the workforce I tried to apply various concepts learnt from this journey in my daily tasks at the workplace.

The concepts I learnt helped me to get more focus, improved my critical thinking skills, helped to figure out ways to prioritize my tasks and I made myself more approachable to people in my personal and professional life. Below you will find the different hacks, tools, tips and tricks that I learnt and practiced, that can help anyone become a highly accomplished and productive tester; while working in a vastly chaotic and fast paced environment.

Different Hacks to become mindful and productive

There are 2 books worth mentioning here that has deeply influenced the way I do things. They were Deep Work by Cal Newport and Procrastinating on Purpose by Rory Vaden. In Deep Work, the author discusses the science and practical steps for focusing without distraction on cognitively demanding tasks. You can refer to this blog post for more detailed information – Deep Work. In Procrastinating on purpose, the author discusses a methodology through which you can prioritize your tasks. This was termed the “Focus Funnel”.

In a nutshell this is how it works, say you have a task – TASK A. This is how you decide whether you can work on TASK A by putting it through the focus funnel.

Step 1: Can TASK A be eliminated?

Step 2: If NO, Can TASK A be automated?

Step 3: If NO, Can TASK A be delegated?

Step 4: If NO, Can TASK A can be delayed further by Procrastinating on purpose?

Step 5: If NO, then you work on TASK A by Concentrating on it

Priority Dilution is, when you delay the most important tasks by allowing your attention to focus on less important but urgent tasks. Priority Concentrate is, when you concentrate on the most important tasks and that is your priority NOW. You can find more information from the book, but I have used these ideas to help in my daily decision making process.

Based on the above readings, the numerous research I have done and applying these concepts in real life; I came up with the different hacks to become a mindful tester. It can be broadly classified into 3 categories. In each category there are different tips and tools that can make you more efficient

  • Planning Hacks
  • Mindfulness Hacks
  • Social Hacks

PLANNING HACKS


Daily and Weekly Planning

  • Everyday in the morning spend just 5- 10 minutes reviewing what tasks need to be accomplished for the day with the help of a To do list.
  • Prioritize the list based on the focus funnel described in the initial section. My motto is to finish the top 3 items on my list everyday. The rest gets carried over to next day
  • Schedule blocks of uninterrupted time each focusing on one particular task. I usually try to do 3 blocks/day (about 45 minutes each)
  • At the end of the day spend 5 minutes to review what tasks were accomplished, what gets carried over the next day and finally what are the tasks that need to be accomplished the next day
  • As part of my job I need to do 5 things – Learning, Reading, Writing, Conference Presenting and working with Customers
  • I want to make sure I dedicate time for each one of them. So I already know how many time blocks minimum I need for each of these items; starting with 2 Time Blocks/Week for Learning, Writing and Conference related tasks and do reading when I take breaks between time blocks. Customers are always first priority and they usually vary from 1-3 time blocks a day based on what customer tasks need to be accomplished that particular day.
  • I usually keep Monday – Wednesdays as my customer days and keep Thursday and Friday as my writing days and tasks that need my creativity and thinking

You can always customize the above routines based on your tasks and context.

Meetings

Here are some interesting facts regarding meetings

There are great talks about how unproductive meetings have a huge negative impact on companies and people. Check out the TED talks from David Grady and Jason Fried (co founder of BaseCamp and 37 Signals) for more information.

Based on the above findings it is clear that having unproductive meetings has a detrimental impact on the overall workplace productivity. So how do you avoid them? Here are some tips to help you make that decision.

  • First of all, you need to decide whether a meeting is necessary to discuss a particular issue. Is this something that can be solved by talking to the person directly? Is it something that can be an email conversation?
  • If you have decided a meeting is necessary, not more than 7-8 people should be invited to the meeting. Research suggests that having more than 8 people in a meeting prevents clear decisions being made at the end of the meeting. Remember if you have 15 – 20 people in a meeting it is a conference; not a meeting
  • Meeting invites need to have a clear title and agenda
  • Everyone needs to come prepared for the meeting
  • Start and finish meetings on time
  • Have clear action items and follow up on them

Remote Meetings

How many of you have experienced this situation before when attending remote meetings?

  • Not announcing who is in the meeting room
  • Not paying attention to food chomping, coffee slurping and sounds generated by putting your laptop, notepad or coffee mug on the table. This may seem like a trivial/normal thing for people in the room but for the person joining in remotely, this sounds like a loud noise going right through your ear buds, especially when wearing noise cancelling headphones. I have been there and done that
  • Not sharing screens while going over presentations or when someone is talking about something he/she is projecting on the screen in the room. The remote employee is left to tap into their visualization techniques to make assumptions about what the presenter is showing and create his/her own interpretation of things. This is a really useful technique for meditation but not so much for work meetings
  • Finally, the thing that annoys me the MOST is, a lot of little conversations happen throughout the room during the meeting and it sounds like the remote employee is in the fish market and has no clue of what is happening

So, how to avoid these problems?

  • Be cognizant of the fact that there are remote employees/attendees in the meeting
  • Ensure you announce the people who are present in the room
  • The facilitator should ensure there is a web-cam so that the attendees of the meeting can see each other and this gives a feeling of inclusion
  • Ensure there is only one conversation-taking place at any point of time during the meeting. Also, ensure we check in periodically with remote attendees in case they have any questions or things they want to add to the current conversation
  • Try to use remote collaboration tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, WebEx and other softwares that help to bring everyone together and encourages more collaboration
  • Act like an adult and stop putting things on the table really hard, banging on the table or chomping on food near the speakerphone

E-Folders

Organizing papers into physical folders has been a productivity hack for many decades now. The same applies to electronic content as well.  On a daily basis we get numerous emails and also have a lot of content on our own laptops that keep polluting our desktop screen. A good way to handle this electronic clutter is to use email filters to automatically sort incoming emails into their respective folders and also have a folder structure in our laptops to put relevant content in the appropriate buckets respectively.

Emails

Email has become the universal defacto standard for communication. Research shows that globally a staggering 269 billion emails are sent each day. It’s estimated that by the end of 2021 over 316 billion emails will be sent each day and there will be 4.1 billion email users – that’s over half the entire world’s population.

Above being the situation, how do we ensure our email communications are useful, productive and less time consuming to read. Here are some tips for that-

  • E-mail should MOSTLY be in 3-4 bullet points, highlighting the key things we want to convey. If there is more information to convey we are better off talking to the person directly or calling over the phone
  • E-mail with more than 2 e-mail threads is an immediate RED FLAG; it should be stopped then and there. It is like a virus that is going to start spreading and affecting everyone’s productivity and time. This is a sign that the people involved need to talk directly or in the worst case scenario have a short meeting ONLY with the people necessary to get clarity on things.
  • It should fit within a normal laptop screen resolution about 11-13’’ without needing to scroll

Reminders

On a daily basis, there are numerous follow ups to do, timely tasks to accomplish and miscellaneous things we need to take care off; at a certain time of the day, week or month. To ensure we do not forget any of these things it is a good idea to set reminders. There are various ways to set reminders for ourselves. I personally set reminders using google calendar, sticky notes and Asana the task management tool. Usually sticky notes go on my table and google calendar reminders help me access them online at any place and at anytime as they seamlessly sync with all the devices.

Coming to work early

This is one of the most overlooked aspects of productivity. When we come early to work and there is no one in the office; we can get so much stuff done even before the regular day starts.  For example – Say the usual work hours of your office is from 9 AM – 6 PM, just by coming in at 7 AM and getting some high priority work done before the day starts, gives a huge feeling of accomplishment and enables you to do highly focused, uninterrupted sessions of work.

Working from Home

Nowadays, more companies are encouraging their employees to adopt more flexible work from home options; as they are able to get a lot more work done. They do not have to waste time in commuting to and from the office and getting distracted with constant interruptions at the workplace. According to a recent study employees who work from home at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive at work. Another study found companies that allow remote work see 25% less turnover than companies who don’t.

MINDFULNESS HACKS

Focusing/De-focusing

The human mind can focus only for a maximum of 45 minutes at a stretch. After which, it is necessary to take a 5 to 20 minute break to recharge. In the book Deep Work, Cal Newport suggests having 1 hour Time Blocks and then taking 10 min breaks in between. He suggests doing 3-4 time blocks of highly focused productive work per day.

I currently have a 100% remote job. This being the case it becomes all the more important to have some routines to do focused work. I end up doing 3-4 timeboxes session/day with a 5 to 10 minute break.

Breaking for Lunch

We need to break for lunch and physically get out of the office to recharge. We can do a lot of activities during our lunch break like reading, listening to podcasts, watching TV, hanging out with co-workers or just sitting by the sun and enjoying nature. Some people choose to work out during this time as well. There is scientific research that shows the value of having well defined lunch breaks to recharge our minds and help us be productive for the rest of the day.

Being Mindful and doing focused work

On an average people spend about 4 hours a day on their smartphones. Half of those is in using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Youtube. This is 20 hours/week out of a 40 hour workday. This being the case, it becomes all the more important to track how much time is spent on your phone to increase productivity at work. Apple came out with Screen time; an app inbuilt into the operating system which tracks phone usage. There is another app I personally use call Moments that also has a feature to exclude apps that you want to ignore as part of your phone usage tracking like listening to Spotify while working.

Also there is research which suggests that, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back concentration on your original task after interruption. At work we have constant interruptions that prevents us from doing good quality work. To avoid these interruptions at work we can do the following-

  • Book a conference room or find a quiet place to do focused work
  • Put our phones and laptops on Do Not Disturb mode to prevent getting distracted from messages from our phones or other communication channels like Slack

Finally, I personally have found a lot of value from doing meditation before starting the day. There are various benefits in doing meditation; one of which is to become more mindful and focused in work and life. I personally use the Headspace app for meditation in the morning. They have different guided exercises to help reduce stress, increase creativity, be more productive and be aware of your breathing throughout the day.

SOCIAL HACKS

Being Social

After family, work is where we spend the majority of our life time. That being said, why not make it a fun experience getting to know our team and co-workers on a personal level? It is good to be social and approachable to people; at the same time. There are different tips to do this-

  • Try to hangout with your coworkers one day a week/month. You could do some social activity with them and get to know each other
  • Make it a point to smile and say “Hi” to at least 2 people every day. This simple gesture can change your work and personal life dramatically

Appreciate Good Work

People value words of encouragement and appreciation more than monetary benefits. There are numerous research that have proved this point. This being the case, it helps to build better relationships through words of appreciation. We could send notes of appreciation via emails, thank you notes and letting other peers know when someone does a great job; that made a positive impact on another individual or team.


Testim gives you the ability to playback tests in incognito mode. The reason you may want to use incognito mode is, to get the true behavior of the application without any cached data. This is similar to running tests on the grid, where in each test runs on a new browser instance without any cached data (same as running in incognito mode). The different tips to help you playback tests in incognito mode are as follows-

NOTE: Ensure you allow Testim to run in incognito, before playing the tests.

Tip 1: Running a single test in incognito

If you want to play a test you just created in incognito, follow the below steps

  • Click on the drop down arrow next to the play button
  • Click on “Run in Incognito mode”

Tip 2: Running multiple tests in Incognito

Multiple tests can be run in incognito mode by using the CLI. Each time a test is run on the grid a fresh browser instance opens up without any cached data. Follow the below steps to run multiple tests in incognito all at once-

NOTE: Tests cannot be run in incognito mode from the Test List view. The CLI needs to be used to run multiple tests in incognito.

We were recently at the STP Spring 2019 conference. Testim was one of the sponsors for the event. We were also there to give a talk and workshop on Implementing ATDD in large scale agile projects and doing Paired Session Based Exploratory Testing respectively. It was an amazing conference in terms of the content, speakers, attendees and the location.

The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency next to the SFO airport and San Francisco Bay. It was a beautiful location and was easily accessible to everyone. As for the conference, there were a great collection of talks and workshops for attendees to learn from and apply the concepts in their daily project activities. The content included different testing strategies/approaches that can be applied to manual/automated testing, applying AI in software testing, different leadership techniques and traits that can be applied in agile testing, testing in DevOps/Continuous Delivery and performance testing.

This is one of the reasons why we have continued to sponsor STP Conferences in the past couple of years; as they make testing inclusive by bringing people from different countries in one location to share their experiences and also learn from each other.

We met a lot of our friends from SauceLabs, Applitools and other companies at the conference. We also had our own sponsor booth.

NOTE: In case you are interested to test drive Testim yourself, just fill in your details here and we will hook you up with

  • Freebies for you and your team
  • Unlimited access to Testim for 14 days
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • 1 Hour Free Test Design and Automation Consultation with me

As mentioned earlier, on behalf of Testim, I also gave a talk and a workshop. The talk was titled “ATDD (Acceptance Test Driven Development) Is A Whole Team Approach – A Real Case Study”. It was about my real life experiences implementing ATDD in a large scale agile project. I discussed the problems my team had before implementing ATDD and how I trained the entire team of 25 people on different practices to encourage collaboration, learning and reinstating the mindset of One Team, One Goal. I also discussed the process changes that happened due to ATDD, how my team could leverage test automation throughout this process and finally shared the lessons learned from the implementation.

The workshop I did was titled “Unwrapping the box of Paired Testing”. In this workshop, I shared different testing strategies to do quick tours on your applications based on my real life experiences. I discussed what is Session Based Exploratory Testing and used the template I formed to do paired exploratory testing on live applications.

Below are some articles I wrote covering some of the details discussed in my talk and workshop

The power of Session Based Exploratory Testing

A Quick Guild to Implementing ATDD

Finally, we took part in a 5 minute lightning talk series STP hosted called “Testing Stories”. People shared their real life testing stories that were really insightful within 5 minutes.


Overall, we had a great time at the conference and look forward to the next event to meet new people and make lasting relationships. Thanks again to the STP organizers for putting on a great show.

Introduction

We work hard to improve the functionality and usability of our autonomous testing platform to support your software quality initiatives. This month we’re thrilled to release a few of your most requested features; Email Validation, Advanced Scheduler, For Each Loop. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Email Validation

What is it?

You now have the ability to generate email addresses, send emails and validate the contents of an email within the Testim IDE itself.

Why should I care?

There is no longer a need to use 3rd party email vendors such as Guerilla Mail and Shark Lasers to do email validations. All this is handled within Testim and there is no need for any context switching. The validations can be done within a click of a button as shown below.

Advanced Scheduler

What is it?

You now have the ability to run tests in parallel, add results label, choose branches and set a timeout for a scheduler run with the Advanced Scheduler feature.

Why should I care?

With this new feature, you now have more control over you scheduled runs in terms of making it run faster by adding parallelism, labeling each scheduled run, pick and choose which branch you want to run the tests on and finally setting a timeout value to control when a test needs to be aborted.

For Each Loop

What is it?

You now have the ability to iterate over any list of similar items and perform repeated actions.

Why should I care?

Iterating over rows in a table, clicking on multiple checkboxes in a list of items or validating the order of a list of similar items; just got a lot easier with the for each loop functionality. You simply choose this option and select the element you want to repeatedly click to perform certain validations. It does not matter which element in the list of similar items is selected as the loop always starts from the first element and iterates over its siblings.

Click on this demo test to learn how the For Each Loop functionality works.

Testim gives you the ability to override timeouts within a test, outside a test and across a group of tests. This helps to control the amount of time tests need to wait before a particular condition is met; after which tests fail gracefully after the set timeout period expires. The different ways to handle timeouts are as follows-

Tip 1: Timeouts within a step

Every step you record in Testim has a default timeout value of 30 seconds. You can override this value by following the below steps

  • Navigate to the properties panel of the step
  • Select “Override timeout” option
  • Change the default timeout value from 30 seconds to the desired timeout value
  • Click on Save

Tip 2: Timeouts within Test Configs

You have the ability to change the timeout for all the tests using a particular test config. You can do this by following the below steps-

  • Navigate to the properties panel of the setup step (first step in the test)
  • Click on the edit config icon next to the exiting resolution
  • Change the default timeout value from 30 seconds to the desired timeout value
  • Click on Save

NOTE: You can also edit the Step delay value in the edit config screen

Tip 3: Setting timeout for test runs

To abort a test run after a certain timeout has elapsed, you can use the CLI –timeout command. The default value is set to 10 minutes.

Usage example:

npm i -g @testim/testim-cli && testim –token “eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ” –project “vZDyQTfE” –grid “Testim-grid” –timeout 120000.

This timeout value can also be set in the Advanced Scheduler screen as shown below


Exploratory Testing has been around for several decades now. Every tester has been knowingly or unknowingly practicing it in their daily testing activities. There are various definitions and methodologies surrounding this testing approach. One of which is session based exploratory testing (SBET). Some confuse this testing approach with Ad-hoc testing without realizing it is way more powerful and structured. Here is a formal introduction to this testing approach and how to use it in your daily testing activities.

What is SBET?

SBET are time boxed uninterrupted testing sessions focused on a particular goal (module, feature, scenario). There are different approaches and templates used for this approach.

Advantages of SBET

This can be used within any domain, project or application; where you can get quick feedback about the application instead of writing detailed test cases (scripted testing). You get more flexibility in exploring the product and get to use your creativity within the boundaries of the goal of the session.

How to do it?

I personally have had a lot of success pairing up with another tester/developer and we both execute the same scenario in different devices/environments and discuss our observations. For example – Say, I am testing a mobile web application; I will have my colleague test the web app on an Android Tablet and I may have an Apple phone. Then we both execute the same scenario and discuss the observations. Just by doing this you can uncover lots of rendering issues, inconsistencies and unexpected behavior.

Structure of SBET?

SBET usually follows the below structure. They are-

  • 45-90 minute Time Boxed sessions
  • Have Charter/Goal document to guide the session
  • Note down test ideas/scenarios
  • Paraphrase/Debrief the observations
  • Discuss Observations with a developer/business person
  • Log Defects based on the discussion

All the session notes are contained in what is called a Charter Document. This is a document that contains all the details about the session including the goal of the session, necessary resources used in the session, task breakdowns containing time spent on performing different tasks during the session, session notes containing helpful information along with the test ideas and observations, issues uncovered during the session and any screenshots (if necessary).

So everyone knows the details about the session and how much time was spent on it. The document can be attached to a story or any repository where you house your test artifacts.

Doing a number of SBET sessions helps to

  • Get a better idea about the product features
  • Uncover bugs that would be otherwise hard to find with scripted/automated testing
  • Identify high risk areas
  • Identify mundane tasks in manual testing which are time consuming, which are good candidates for automation

How it fits into automation?

Doing SBET helps to set the stage for automation. It helps to learn about the application and think about different scenarios to automate. It is good to have SBET and high level automated tests running in parallel as it gives you good coverage of the application. The time you invest in automation depends on your context i.e how many people are available to do automation, the skill sets, cost vs value of doing automation, timeline and what tools/framework you are using.

After a month or two of getting to know the product by doing SBET, you can start doing some time boxed experimentation with different tools that are available for automation. Then you can practically see what fits your needs. Once you identify the tool, you can start automating the different scenarios.

How SBET fits in Agile Projects?

Given the flexibility SBET provides, the next question that quite often comes to mind is – When is the right time to do SBET? The answer is it depends on the context of the project. If you are just the lone tester or have only 2-3 people in the testing team, you can start doing ET sessions on each user story. Once you get a fair understanding of the functionalities of the application, you can start writing high level test cases and pick out scenarios for test automation based on the knowledge gained from these sessions.

If you are working in large scale agile projects and have a big test team, then you could follow the below approach-

  • For each story, discuss the acceptance criteria. Based on that discussion, identify scenarios that can/cannot be automated
  • For those scenarios that have to be tested manually, figure out the risk and impact associated with the story. For example – If the story is about implementing the payment functionality of a banking system, then there are high risks and huge impact to the customer and the organization, if the feature is not implemented correctly and we do not get proper test coverage. On the other end, if a story is about increasing the font size on the web page from 12 points to 15 points, the risks and impact to the customer are lot lesser. Do customers really care if the font size was not changed correctly? The answer could be Yes; but the impact is minimum as the customers would still be able to perform the required transactions in the application. But if the payment system is not working, then customers cannot make a payment which is a huge deal
  • Once we identified the story as high risk and impact, we can write high level test cases covering the acceptance criteria and some edge cases. This can then be supplemented by one or more ET sessions to explore certain aspects of the functionality in more detail

Once an ET session is complete, all the documentation generated from the session (which usually would be ET charters filled with information) can be attached to the specific story for better traceability and letting stakeholders know the details about the ET session including the different issues uncovered. This way, everything is documented and available for future reference.

During regression testing phase, one or more of these ET charters could be reused to perform additional sessions. Some of the scenarios from the ET session can be converted into high level test cases or automated test cases. Thus, ET sessions can start right from the story testing phase and can extend all the way till acceptance testing phase.

Remember, SBET is NOT a replacement for scripted test case execution but is performed COMPLEMENTARY to it. It is an approach that helps in exercising the creativity and experience of the tester to get more information about the product. As a result, stakeholders can make informed decisions.

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