The four-hour tester – Part I

16.01.2017
Von: Marvin Bodziuk

As a part of my training to become a tester, one of the activities I’ve been doing is the four-hour tester. In the course of five blogs, I’m going to share my results and thoughts on them.

The first exercise is the interpretation exercise. This exercise is about the different ways of interpreting the same words and sentences.

Once I finished reading the briefing and the example, I realized that the exercise is about questioning requirements and assumptions.

The exercise

The exercise was this:
“Apply “Mary had a little lamb” to the second sentence of this quote: “You can add reminders in Google Calendar. Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. For example, if you create a reminder to make a restaurant reservation, you’ll see the reminder each day until you mark it as done.” - Stress different words or groups of words and come up with at least 10 different interpretations.”

The following table shows my results. The marked words are the words I focused on for each interpretation.

 

StatementIn constrast to
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. Reminders, not meetings or anything else
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. Via multi-select? Or is only single-select available?
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. Only to the next day, not longer. Also, how are we defining “day”, especially in different time zones?
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. Yourself not someone else
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. You need to mark them, not swipe them or carry out some other action
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. If you have a small part left of the reminder…? You have to pick done! Can’t pick snooze
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. Not a week or a month
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. Not the day after the next day
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. What’s happening with the meeting itself for which the reminder was entered? Does it move?
Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done. By default? Or only if you choose it in the setup before

 

 

The evaluation

After the exercise there is an evaluation. When I did this evaluation, there was a different version online, so the questions differ a little. I actually prefer the newer one because in my opinion the question 2 and 3 are pretty close in my version. For me, the evaluation was not trivial, because I was focusing too much on the whole sentence, and not only on single words. I had to free my mind a bit to get some inspiration.

Below are my results for the evaluation questions:

  1. Which interpretations are widely different from your own initial one?

    • You only can keep your reminder until the next day, not any longer.
      When I read the sentence (Reminders carry over to the next day until you mark them as done) I imagined the reminder carry over from day to day, until I mark it as done. Now as I focused “next day” I’m not sure what will happen if the reminder isn’t done, on following days.
    • You need to mark them, not swipe them or carry out some other action
      Imaging another device like a mobile, I often swipe reminders away or cancel them with the close (X). But the sentence says that we have to mark them and nothing else.
    • You can only mark them as done, not pick snooze or cancel.
      Frist I believed that you can pick something like the “Outlook-snooze” – “click snooze to be reminded in … Minutes” but after emphasizing “as done”, I’m not sure anymore whether I can pick snooze for a reminder.

  2. How different could two implementations be, if their developers had two different interpretations?

    • One developer is carrying the reminder by default to the next day, the other one only when you have selected it in the settings.
    • If you cancel or (on mobile-devices) swipe a reminder, one developer may snooze it, another may mark it as done.

  3. What kind of behaviors would be bugs based on one interpretation of the sentence but not on another?

    • The reminders carry over to the next day even if it was marked as done. (e.g. International date line, two different devices).
    • Multi-select is available, only single-select is available.
    • Somebody else except you can mark the reminder as done.

  4. Presentation with my mentors

    I presented my results to my mentors Alex and Thomas. They told me how important communication is in software development (and anywhere where people work together). The best and most effective way is to speak directly with the people who are involved in the project (if it’s at all possible). Like my Professor at university said: “The main reason why projects fail is communication”.

    Looking at the different results from the interpretation (e.g. Solutions-Interpretation-JoepSchuurkes, Solutions-Interpretation-SandeepGarg, or your own) this is demonstrated quite well, since everyone has different interpretations. The conclusion for me is that thinking critically and asking about requirements is important for software development. The range of different interpretations for just one sentence is impressive. So when we’re testing we have to be aware of ambiguity, and work with the customer, the developers and other testers to get a clear shared picture.


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