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My interactions with Customers – Independence of Testing doesn’t mean many dismissed defects

Posted on: 24 May '11

I always knew that customer interactions are fascinating and offer great deal of learning. Thanks to blogs, I am now able to share the experiences and learning with a wider audience. Thanks a lot to the readers for your comments and feedback.

So, here is one more fascinating experience.

I was discussing the independence of the Testing team with a customer and she responded by saying “Independence of the Testing Team doesn’t mean many dismissed defects!!”. Well, we had an extremely insightful discussion in the next 30 minutes.

Her experience in one instance was that 70% of the defects uncovered by the Independent Testing Team were invalid. We spent some time on analyzing the various reasons for such a high percentage of invalid defects. Here is a summary of analysis

  • Test Environment: The most important factor turned out to be the Test Environment. If the system is not running under the right software and/or hardware environment, a tester can see many defects, which will not be experienced otherwise.
  • Lack of insight into end-user: Any system if used out of context will not behave correctly
  • Preparedness of the testing team: The Testing Team is always under time pressure and hence, the team members don’t spend adequate time learning about the “How”, “What” and “Why” of testing in the given context
  • Lack of documentation: My experience says that more than 50% of the projects lack proper documentation and knowledge management. Because of this reality, the testers learn a lot of aspects by trial and error

The first, third and the fourth factors can be neutralized by proper planning and oversight. The second factor is not that straight forward. Here, a different mindset of the testers becomes important in addition to the domain knowledge and dedication.

In conclusion, independence of Testing comes with a lot of responsibility and the responsibility is to ensure that the defects logged are valid defects.

Please do share your thoughts as I am really excited to know some of your customer interactions and experiences on such topics. Thanks again for your comments and feedback. Really appreciate it.

  • Shekar nanavate

    Defects appear by two systems source and destination i.e customer=source–if he doesn’t specify his requirment properly…Team=destination–If the team has less knowledge about the respective project…If two system matches 100% then there won’t be defects.

    • Ananda Rao Ladi

      Hello Shekar

      Both are valid points. But there are many more reasons for dismissed defects.

      Thanks
      Anand

  • shyam

    Anand good points. I beleive that as a testing team we always need to map against a requirement. The defects should have a concrete evidence of non-conformance with respect to the requirement. Yes the environment issue is a constant one. Most of the time the Dev team mentions that it works in Dev but not the current testing environment. What is required now is for testing team to be functional/domain experts. We have to see ourselves as Business Test managers/leaders so once we do that then the only thing to think about is end user. Thanks for your blog it is helpful

    • Ananda Rao Ladi

      Hello Shyam

      Thank you for your feedback. Your point on being a “Business Test Manager” is a good one. In fact, a testing team needs to have engineers, BAs, Usability experts,… as members.

      Thanks
      Anand

  • Shivanand Pujar

    Anand,I am of the opinion that, the root cause of all the 4 points listed (which I agree are the common pitfalls) is that we miss out to follow the simplest of process that is required in STLC and team should be made accountable for it; and responsibility should be attached from Module Lead onwards (higher).