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(Paper) Manual Testing Interview Questions - Answers Set - 4
Manual Testing Interview
And Answers Set - 4
What if an organization is
growing so fast that fixed QA processes are impossible?
This is a common problem in the software industry, especially in new technology areas. There is no easy solution in this situation, other than:
? Hire good people
? Management should 'ruthlessly prioritize' quality issues and maintain focus on the customer
? Everyone in the organization should be clear on what 'quality' means to the customer
How does a client/server
environment affect testing?
Client/server applications can be quite complex due to the multiple dependencies among clients, data communications, hardware, and servers. Thus testing requirements can be extensive. When time is limited (as it usually is) the focus should be on integration and system testing. Additionally, load/stress/performance testing may be useful in determining client/server application limitations and capabilities. There are commercial tools to assist with such testing. (See the 'Tools' section for web resources with listings that include these kinds of test tools.)
How can World Wide Web sites be
? What are the expected loads on the server (e.g., number of hits per unit time?), and what kind of performance is required under such loads (such as web server response time, database query response times). What kinds of tools will be needed for performance testing (such as web load testing tools, other tools already in house that can be adapted, web robot downloading tools, etc.)?
? Who is the target audience? What kind of browsers will they be using? What kind of connection speeds will they by using? Are they intra- organization (thus with likely high connection speeds and similar browsers) or Internet-wide (thus with a wide variety of connection speeds and browser types)?
? What kind of performance is expected on the client side (e.g., how fast should pages appear, how fast should animations, applets, etc. load and run)?
? Will down time for server and content maintenance/upgrades be allowed? how much?
? What kinds of security (firewalls, encryptions, passwords, etc.) will be required and what is it expected to do? How can it be tested?
? How reliable are the site's Internet connections required to be? And how does that affect backup system or redundant connection requirements and testing?
? What processes will be required to manage updates to the web site's content, and what are the requirements for maintaining, tracking, and controlling page content, graphics, links, etc.?
? Which HTML specification will be adhered to? How strictly? What variations will be allowed for targeted browsers?
? Will there be any standards or requirements for page appearance and/or graphics throughout a site or parts of a site??
? How will internal and external links be validated and updated? how often?
? Can testing be done on the production system, or will a separate test system be required? How are browser caching, variations in browser option settings, dial-up connection variabilities, and real-world internet 'traffic congestion' problems to be accounted for in testing?
? How extensive or customized are the server logging and reporting requirements; are they considered an integral part of the system and do they require testing?
Some sources of site security information include the Usenet newsgroup 'comp.security.announce' and links concerning web site security in the 'Other Resources' section.
Some usability guidelines to consider - these are subjective and may or may not apply to a given situation (Note: more information on usability testing issues can be found in articles about web site usability in the 'Other Resources' section):
? Pages should be 3-5 screens max unless content is tightly focused on a single topic. If larger, provide internal links within the page.
? The page layouts and design elements should be consistent throughout a site, so that it's clear to the user that they're still within a site.
? Pages should be as browser-independent as possible, or pages should be provided or generated based on the browser-type.
? All pages should have links external to the page; there should be no dead-end pages.
? The page owner, revision date, and a link to a contact person or organization should be included on each page.
Many new web site test tools have appeared in the recent years and more than 280 of them are listed in the 'Web Test Tools' section.
How is testing affected
by object-oriented designs?
Well-engineered object-oriented design can make it easier to trace from code to internal design to functional design to requirements. While there will be little affect on black box testing (where an understanding of the internal design of the application is unnecessary), white-box testing can be oriented to the application's objects. If the application was well-designed this can simplify test design.
What is Extreme Programming and
what's it got to do with testing?
Extreme Programming (XP) is a software development approach for small teams on risk-prone projects with unstable requirements. It was created by Kent Beck who described the approach in his book 'Extreme Programming Explained' (See the Softwareqatest.com Books page.). Testing ('extreme testing') is a core aspect of Extreme Programming. Programmers are expected to write unit and functional test code first - before the application is developed. Test code is under source control along with the rest of the code. Customers are expected to be an integral part of the project team and to help develope scenarios for acceptance/black box testing. Acceptance tests are preferably automated, and are modified and rerun for each of the frequent development iterations. QA and test personnel are also required to be an integral part of the project team. Detailed requirements documentation is not used, and frequent re-scheduling, re-estimating, and re-prioritizing is expected. For more info see the XP-related listings in the Softwareqatest.com 'Other Resources' section.
Why is it
often hard for management to get serious about quality assurance?
Solving problems is a high-visibility process; preventing problems is low-visibility. This is illustrated by an old parable:
In ancient China there was a family of healers, one of whom was known throughout the land and employed as a physician to a great lord. The physician was asked which of his family was the most skillful healer. He replied,
"I tend to the sick and dying with drastic and dramatic treatments, and on occasion someone is cured and my name gets out among the lords."
"My elder brother cures sickness when it just begins to take root, and his skills are known among the local peasants and neighbors."
"My eldest brother is able to sense the spirit of sickness and eradicate it before it takes form. His name is unknown outside our home."
software have bugs?
? miscommunication or no communication - as to specifics of what an application should or shouldn't do (the application's requirements).
? software complexity - the complexity of current software applications can be difficult to comprehend for anyone without experience in modern-day software development. Windows-type interfaces, client-server and distributed applications, data communications, enormous relational databases, and sheer size of applications have all contributed to the exponential growth in software/system complexity. And the use of object-oriented techniques can complicate instead of simplify a project unless it is well-engineered.
? programming errors - programmers, like anyone else, can make mistakes.
? changing requirements (whether documented or undocumented) - the customer may not understand the effects of changes, or may understand and request them anyway - redesign, rescheduling of engineers, effects on other projects, work already completed that may have to be redone or thrown out, hardware requirements that may be affected, etc. If there are many minor changes or any major changes, known and unknown dependencies among parts of the project are likely to interact and cause problems, and the complexity of coordinating changes may result in errors. Enthusiasm of engineering staff may be affected. In some fast-changing business environments, continuously modified requirements may be a fact of life. In this case, management must understand the resulting risks, and QA and test engineers must adapt and plan for continuous extensive testing to keep the inevitable bugs from running out of control - see 'What can be done if requirements are changing continuously?' in Part 2 of the FAQ.
? time pressures - scheduling of software projects is difficult at best, often requiring a lot of guesswork. When deadlines loom and the crunch comes, mistakes will be made.
? egos - people prefer to say things like:
'piece of cake'
'I can whip that out in a few hours'
'it should be easy to update that old code'
'that adds a lot of complexity and we could end up
making a lot of mistakes'
'we have no idea if we can do that; we'll wing it'
'I can't estimate how long it will take, until I
take a close look at it'
'we can't figure out what that old spaghetti code
did in the first place'
If there are too many unrealistic 'no problem's', the result is bugs.
? poorly documented code - it's tough to maintain and modify code that is badly written or poorly documented; the result is bugs. In many organizations management provides no incentive for programmers to document their code or write clear, understandable, maintainable code. In fact, it's usually the opposite: they get points mostly for quickly turning out code, and there's job security if nobody else can understand it ('if it was hard to write, it should be hard to read').
? software development tools - visual tools, class libraries, compilers, scripting tools, etc. often introduce their own bugs or are poorly documented, resulting in added bugs.
How can new
Software QA processes be introduced in an existing organization?
? A lot depends on the size of the organization and the risks involved. For large organizations with high-risk (in terms of lives or property) projects, serious management buy-in is required and a formalized QA process is necessary.
? Where the risk is lower, management and organizational buy-in and QA implementation may be a slower, step-at-a-time process. QA processes should be balanced with productivity so as to keep bureaucracy from getting out of hand.
? For small groups or projects, a more ad-hoc process may be appropriate, depending on the type of customers and projects. A lot will depend on team leads or managers, feedback to developers, and ensuring adequate communications among customers, managers, developers, and testers.
? The most value for effort will be in (a) requirements management processes, with a goal of clear, complete, testable requirement specifications embodied in requirements or design documentation and (b) design inspections and code inspections.
Verification typically involves reviews and meetings to evaluate documents, plans, code, requirements, and specifications. This can be done with checklists, issues lists, walkthroughs, and inspection meetings. Validation typically involves actual testing and takes place after verifications are completed. The term 'IV & V' refers to Independent Verification and Validation.
What is a
A 'walkthrough' is an informal meeting for evaluation or informational purposes. Little or no preparation is usually required.
An inspection is more formalized than a 'walkthrough', typically with 3-8 people including a moderator, reader, and a recorder to take notes. The subject of the inspection is typically a document such as a requirements spec or a test plan, and the purpose is to find problems and see what's missing, not to fix anything. Attendees should prepare for this type of meeting by reading thru the document; most problems will be found during this preparation. The result of the inspection meeting should be a written report. Thorough preparation for inspections is difficult, painstaking work, but is one of the most cost effective methods of ensuring quality. Employees who are most skilled at inspections are like the 'eldest brother' in the parable in 'Why is it often hard for management to get serious about quality assurance?'. Their skill may have low visibility but they are extremely valuable to any software development organization, since bug prevention is far more cost-effective than bug detection.