I had a recent conversation with Shrini on testing ERP applications which made me write my experiences.
ERP , the vast ocean of Enterprise applications, I was doing this testing for an ERP application some time back and due to a showstopper in the application for which i was developing automation scripts i thought of doing some testing of my own. To my surprise i was finding bugs which could have been caught long time back and which were so obvious, this raised my curiousity to test it more and i started doing exploratory testing. As i was finding more and more bugs my excitement was rising.
I managed to find some 50 odd bugs in 2 days and was extremely happy that i found some real trivial and amazing bugs in the application. Then started the real challenge of explaining the management about the importance of rapid testing versus scripted testing as somehow i have the feeling that scriptd testing is considered by the management as a robot which will perform all jobs by itself and once completed we can run them to find if any bugs have been injected when a new build was released.
Here goes the conversation:
Me: I would propose ET (Exploratory Testing) for testing this application as i dont find any value addition in doing scripted testing which i have been assigned which does not finds the bugs which ET can find.
Me: Its been more than 2 years since the development for this application started and and still their are so many bugs in the application which should have been caught by now. I would like to know from you what are the benifits of we doing scripted testing when it is serving no purpose.
Manager: Well i feel that their is already another group who is looking after this aspect of the application.
Me: You mean to say after the exploratory approach of testing.
Manager: Well i don't know what is exploratory testing ( The manager is from a development background), i only can suggest you at this moment that we have some goals to achieve and we have clear directions from higher management of how we achieve the same hence your priority should be to perform scripted testing.
Me: But it is not finding any bugs which should be our goal.
Manager: I already told you that other groups are taking care of this.
Me: ( I knew no other such group is doing this kind of testing) I would like to know who is that other group and if such a group exists then i would like to see how they are performing testing as according to me these bugs should have been identifed by now.
Manager: At this point i have no clue as their are so many teams working acroos the Globe so it would be difficult to identify and provide you the details, hence you pay attention to your goals for this year that is scripted tests.
Me: Are you aware of something called “Pesticide Paradox”?
Manager: No, what is this pesticide killer you are taling about.
Me: Well bugs are like pesticides in software terminology. As pesticides over a period of repeated application of a specific pesticide acquire immunity to it and fail to show their presence, in the same manner software bugs fail to show up and become immune to repeated application of specific Test cases which we call scripted testing. Might be some bug is lying in the system which our tests dont navigate through at all.
Their are still so many bugs lying in the application but since the way we are looking at quality is just to make sure that the important business processes keep on running hence we are not seeing the so many hidden bugs which makes me more concerned about the quality of the product.
The discussion continued for a long time and the output was negative as due to vastness of ERP applications generally quality is given a backseat and thing which is made sure is that the main functionality or the Business flow should work properly which the customers are going to use.
Customers also being not taught about the application and with limited knowledge just know what they have to follow to complete a scenario and follow the same steps. The scripted tests also are made sure so that they cover the business flow. So many bugs are left in the application and no one complains about it simply because the business scenarios are running and thats what customers are going to use, but what if the customers deviate from the normal process and do a bit different?
The attitude for quality should be present during testing and this should be well supported at an organizational level, for this we still need to educate ourselves a lot and give due respect to quality.
The point i like to highlight here is:
If the software testing team gets appreciation and their views are taken with due respect then we have many passionate testers who can do wonders for the company.
Sadly we dont find such managers and stakeholders, everyone is busy in thinking that why should i put my head in this dirty work, let me do what i am assigned to and achieve the objectives and goals assigned.
Appreciation and freedom given to express views and taking prompt actions on the same goes a long way in building good testers.
What do you say?