Friday, August 31, 2012

SofTec 2012- Evangelizing Express functional testing approach

On 14th-July-2012, i was invited to speak in the SofTec 2012 conference in Bangalore. I was happy to be participating in this conference as this was my third straight year presenting here and each time a different topic. Previous presentation details are here- 2010 and 2011 .

Like with most of the testing conferences i have been to and presented, this conference too had 2 parallel tracks happening. One was "Test Technologies/Methodologies" and other one is "People/Process/Business" track or Management track in simpler terms. Over last many years my experience is more tilted towards the Management side of things but i do make it is a point to speak on the Technical track because of many reasons. The prime reason being this is one way it helps to keep me rooted to the foundation work (I call this foundation work because that's where core engineering value gets added) and also it helps me keep my professional thinking balanced.
So whatever the reasons, this time too i did do a presentation on the Technical Track and topic that i chose was- "Express functional Testing approach- doing more with less".

Overall, the presentation was well received. I must say in conferences usually when many speakers boast about the supposedly high-end topics like Security, Performance testing- a topic on Functional testing may sound a bit off-beat. But the fact i have experienced is that its usually the things which one takes for granted as easy is where the mistakes happen. Functional testing is one such area.

Many say it is easy, many say they wont be using their Engineering capabilities and brainpower if they did "just" functional testing, many say functional testing is "only" a manual testing and many such things but the fact-of-the matter remains it is very hard to master functional testing even after spending years on it. More often it is conducted in a closed box i.e. create test plan, create test cases, execute tests, report bugs, regress bugs and many such steps. I call this closed box because people tend to do all these activities without even questioning the need of these and they eventually see them fall in a rut. I always believe there are always 2 broad ways of doing things at work-
1. Do them as they have been done in the past.
2. Learn how things were done in the past and question if there is a better way.

What i have found is that the very act of questioning the way things are done is easier said than done. It requires much broader knowledge to suggest alternative ways and to attain that knowledge requires constant reading and practice. The approach that i presented in this session was more of a result of questioning the obvious and challenging the status quo.

More about this approach could be found at the presentation

Would be keen to discuss this more if you are interested. Do let me know.

Here's the press release to this conference.