WTEU-67 – Heuristics in Testing

Date: Sunday 24th April 2016

Attendees: Amna Sherazi, Adina Sinculet, Amit Wer, Kirill Artamonov, Raghu, Brendan Connolly, Kirstin Kerr, Pallavi Alloju, Dolores Zurdo, Dwayne Green, Tracey Baxter, Victor Ireri, Pablo Sapitan

Heuristics. Defined by Dwayne as “Fallible method for solving a problem (like wearing a helmet might solve the problem of dying if you fall off your bike, but won’t solve the problem of falling off the bike in the first place)”

Amit pointed out that heuristics are widely used in testing. “The common claim is that everyone does, whether they intend it or not.”

Heuristics give us a “framework to use to approach testing things”.

Consistency heuristic (also known as SFDIPOT) is useful when you “try to talk with others and explain why I think something should be fixed. Now, instead of saying “this doesn’t feel right”, I know to point that “it’s inconsistent with itself – look, at the other page here the button in on the other side of the screen”.

After defining heuristics, and talking about the ones we commonly use, we broke into groups to try using the SFDIPOT heuristic to plan testing on the https://workflowy.com/ application.

Using a heuristic can prevent “you from going too deep into just one aspect of the application”.

Kirill summed things up nicely by likening a heuristic for test planning to “solving a puzzle 🙂 trying to get an overview first (while keep posting ideas) and then moving the pieces to see which ones do match and where there are still empty spots”.

You can read the full WTEU-67-SessionTranscript.

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Additional resources:

James Bach – Talking about heuristics http://www.satisfice.com/blog/archives/462

James Bach – Testability Heuristics http://www.satisfice.com/tools/testability.pdf

Michael Hunter – You are not done yet – http://www.thebraidytester.com/downloads/YouAreNotDoneYet.pdf


About the Author

Amy has spent the last ten years testing in a variety of development environments for companies including Royal Mail, The Guardian, and Yahoo! She is currently test lead at Songkick and enjoying the challenges of mobile and web testing. You can find Amy on Twitter (@itjustbroke) or via testingthemind.wordpress.com