Sunday, May 16, 2010

EWT18: Zoom in or FOCUS and DEFOCUS?

Another weekend and another session of European Weekend Testing - EWT18: "Zoom me in"
This time Markus Gärtner did a great job facilitating. Was it different then other times? I believe so. Although the number of participants were low, The team was good. This time a good mission was defined with a relation towards reporting to the manager about your test findings in relation to test a suitable tool which can be used during that presentation.

This time the Application Under Test was: ZoomIt v4.1. The main objective was to see whether the application was suitable for usage in during a presentation you have to give for you boss.

Participants were:
Jeroen Rosink,
Ashik Elahi,
Ajay Balamurugadas
Markus Gärtner

During the roundup:
Pradeep Soundararajan
Michael Bolton

My Approach
In contradiction to other sessions I changed a bit my approach. before I downloaded the tool I first read the web site for information and noticed that the tool was one with a small number of functionalities. After downloading I checked also the website from the developer for additional information. Looking to the application itself it runs without installing.

Basically it were the following steps:
- Read about the application
- Check for functionalities while running the application
- Ask to the facilitator questions about the context to test this application
- Define the conditions to test the application
- Defocus and check if there are other ways

Some questions to start with
Do you want to have an impression about the usability of zoomit?
If the functionality fits? and can be used during the presentation?
What about the information to use in the presentation?
When will it be suitable and correct to use and when will the boss be pleased about the presentation?

Confirmation of the approach
Before I actually started testing I tried to confirm the approach. The mission was to see whether the tool Zoomit is suitable for usage during a presentation. It should function under the defined conditions of the presentation.
It should be able to support the following objects of the presentation:
* high-level understanding
* graphs
* details where necessary
* interactive questions

Some Steps to mention
To check whether the application is suitable for usage in a presentation I performed the following steps:
- learn about the tool (documentation and it self)
- check the functionality
- use the tool
a. as given on the screen which is open
b. on a presentation, while not actively shown
c. on an active presentation
d. on a movie
- preparing some kind of matrix with combination: Hot-keys and environment (application vs video/chart etc)
- use the tool with respect to functionality and usage within a presentation
- on video and chart
- using different options
- checking the behaviour of the tool about changing the standard settings

Some findings
- CTRL-break+background fade: ok
- it is possible to enter negative time in box (copy-paste negative value: -1)
- boundary values of break are:
o enter: 1 until 99
o paste: -9 until 99 (pasting 100 results into 10)
- Hotkeys: it response on the key combination you enter, if you enter CTRL+SHIFT and hit enter then these values are preserved, manually it is not possible
- Used different font type. Also wingdings., seems to work, typing makes the cursor go off the screen, also when using the ENTER
- The timer also using the font as set on the type dialog
- Font size can only be altered with value between 16 and 16
- When using the tool while a video is running; on live zoom it is not shown at all.
- Mouse behaviour in live zoom is opposite

Lessons learned
Although some are not new, it is refreshing and valuable to mention
- Sometimes it is not clear what a tool must do, only under which conditions like, using it on charts etc.
- Using a tool with a few number of functions it is easy to prepare some matrix to test
- Awareness about environmental conditions is something not to make assumptions, I noticed that all functions would work on my PC (Vista), this might not be the environment to present on
- Frequently participating on weekend testing trains your mind
- Defocusing brings some peace in thinking process.
- Asking questions first to make the scope clear for yourself provides a great guidance during a mission
- I should train myself more on the questions, perhaps a “golden” heuristic might help.

While discussing
During the discussion some nice other lessons were possed. It is not always obvious that the environment you are testing on is the same you have to use in presentation. Another option was the availability of a beamer and other digital means. This resulted in the suggestion to use a flip-over, white-boards etc as Oracle to check whether the application would be supportive for the presentation.

Ajay also introduced a term he learned from Pradeep while participating on Bangalore testing meeting: "gaining the context" instead of "setting the context".
For me this brought some ideas and thoughts also. Somehow I see "gaining" as something you have to earn. In my opinion a context for testing must be gained. Not always is information provided clear, even when asking the right questions, it is the persons attitude and willingness to share information with you.

While we were discussing the differences Pradeep Soundararajan entered the discussion to support us on this. He challenged us with a alarm clock example. A bit later also Michael Bolton entered the discussion to provide us some guidance.

In my first impression it seems that in general approaches there is less considereation between human aspects. Michael pointed us towards the mnemonic: CIDTESTD from Heuristic test Strategy Model (20100516: Changed heuristic into mnemonic)

At the end there was the question why it would be so important to discuss about the difference between gaining, exploring etc.; it can be all the same; it might be just a word game.
I believe there is some difference. Like earning respect, you have to gain knowledge and information. This can be done by using your skills as a person and adapting to the situation. I believe information should not be take for granted. Or as Markus mentioned: "don't look where everyone's already pointing". This can also be used in some way as: "Don't ask information others already asked"

At the end it was a challenging, good moderated and fun weekend session.
Well done to all.

For those who also want to be challenged by challenging yourselves, you might take part on one of the weekend testing sessions and teach yourselves! Don't hesitate to participate!

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  1. In the talk over "gaining vs. exploring", if I recall correctly, none of the participants (except me) were native English speakers. I wonder how much of the uncertainty in the conversation was based on that. The Dutch word for "gaining" almost certainly has shades of meaning that are not common the English nuances (note that "nuances" is not an English word, but one we stole!)

    If that's true, then what shades of meaning are gained and lost when testing "standards" are translated into different languages?

    ---Michael B.

  2. Also, note: "CIDTESTD" is a mnenmonic. It's a way of remembering eight heuristic guidewords: Customer, Information, Developer relations, Test team, Equipment and tools, Schedule, Test item (that is, the thing being tested), and Deliverables. A "guideword heuristic" is one that says, "Think in terms of a particular guideword."

    A heuristic is a fallible method for solving a problem or making a decision. Mnemonics are heuristic devices for remembering stuff. So even though mnemonics are heuristic devices, we tend to call them mnemonics, rather than heuristics.

    ---Michael B.

  3. Hello Michael,
    You are right about being the only native English speaker at that conversation. You might be right that some parts of the conversation were built on different understanding about the meaning of a word. This seems not only a pitfall between different languages; this is in my opinion also happening when equally native speakers are communicating with each other. For example requirements are often not ambiguous and SMART although we claim them to be.

    In terms I would use “gaining” would rather be in terms of “obtaining”.
    If I think of “exploring” I’m researching the environment and based on the information I find by either visual checks myself or by investigating the context by asking questions I can find information.

    Using “gaining” I see some opportunity to make additions to the of use standards. While using standards and general methods often boundaries are set to focus on the system itself; human nature and behaviour is sometimes forgotten. When being aware of other human interactions you are not the only person who interacts with your object under investigation. In exploring you might notice them, only the focus stays on exploring the main object.

    Often people are not willing to share their information/secrets with others. You have to earn it based on trust, liability, and integrity, expressed by skills. You have to gain that information. After you gained it you might explore it further.

    Perhaps you are right, and what is in the word. I value human interaction and also their response and willingness of sharing information. Perhaps others don’t need the word “gaining” a context instead of setting a context. Currently I feel comfortably using it in this context: extending the border of thinking to create space for human nature. While writing this and reading the comments from yesterday; I have to use it carefully as understanding and perception might differ.

    Thanks for sharing you view and making me think and learn.

    You’re correct about using the mnemonic (I changed it thanks)!