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Pair Testing User Guide


Each minute of our life is a lesson but most of us fail to read it. I thought I would just add my daily lessons & the lessons that I learned by seeing the people around here. So it may be useful for you and as memories for me.

Pair programming is a familiar practice in extreme programming. Therefore, Pair programming considered as a great approach for programming software. Like wise pair testing is an alike process for testing software.

When you think of software testing, you probably think of an individual sitting at their computer performing manual tests or maybe writing up a Selenium script. In this scenario, they are also the sole person providing feedback on the test case and recording any notes or documentation.

However, pair testing is a little different, and it’s gaining popularity among the testing community. Pair testing, often referred to as Buddy testing, is a software testing technique where two people from the project team test the same feature in parallel under the same conditions while exchanging ideas. It generates more ideas which result in better testing of the application under test.Contrary to how it appears, pair testing does speed up test assignments while delivering more quality results.

One does the testing and the other analyzes or reviews the testing. This can be done between one tester and developer or business analyst or between two testers with both participants taking turns at driving the keyboard

In this a single task is divided between two individuals who exchange ideas, discuss test scenarios, take notes, and generally collaborate to test software functionality. It is a form of exploratory testing.

Generally, the pair in pair tests comprise a developer and a tester. However, in some instances, a customer, business analyst, solution designer, or technical writer can also form part of the pair if the situation calls for it.

This guide serves to introduce beginners in software testing to the concept, and where and when they can adopt the technique to maximize its benefits.

How to Conduct Pair Testing

Pair testing really isn’t that different from other methods of software testing, but there are a few things you may want to do in preparation.

Following these steps will ensure that it’ll be a productive use of both your time.

  • Identify scenarios to be tested: Identify the test case you want to work on and why you think pair testing is a solution. Come up with a few specific cases you want to be included in the pair testing. I suggest to write down a simple checklist of ideas.
  • Determine an objective from your pair testing session. Do you want to find bugs or suggest new features? Maybe you want to define tests that should be automated — maybe all of the above. Understand who you will be bringing your results to if it’s different than your normal report.
  • Establish Goals: Even though pair testing is a form of ad-hoc testing, testers shouldn’t be completely unstructured when approaching it. At the very least, formulate a list of software areas to cover. For example, let’s say a pair is testing a new feature with multiple components. Testers should come prepared with a list of components to cover, expected results for each, and what the test intends to accomplish.
  • Decide on Roles: Before starting, decide which of the pair will operate the machine (the driver) and who will direct the session (the navigator). The navigator takes the driver through the steps of the tests, suggests scenarios, takes notes, and swaps ideas. However, both parties should equally contribute ideas, suggestions, and concepts to enrich the test cases.
  • Create a timeline:  The duo should have access to a quiet room where they can talk (and not disturb anyone else) as well as the required machine for one or two hours. That gives yourselves enough room to explore and meet these objectives while staying focused on the tasks at hand.
  • Partner Up the Right People: Find two people comfortable with collaborating. The two people should have a sense of each other’s working styles, be able to communicate adequately, and see eye-to-eye on project goals.
  • Log Bugs and Take Notes: Once the session ends, log bugs, if any. Additionally, make detailed bug reports and note any unexpected discrepancies and anomalies that might have popped up.

Characteristics of Pair Testing:

  • Testing is an open-ended defect hunting process. Pair Testing will generate more effective test cases quickly and cheaply.
  • Forming testers in pairs will enable test managers to gather performance of the testers within the group.
  • Pair Testing is the best approach for mentoring and training the newbies in the team.
  • Testing in pairs generates a positive energy within the team with increased coordination.
  • Pair the domain expert with a novice tester to develop domain knowledge within the team.

When to Conduct Pair Testing

There are a few situations in which pair testing comes in handy:

  • Short pair tests between team members to quickly validate software components and further collaboration.
  • As a learning opportunity, pair tests are ideal. Assigning a new member or junior tester with a senior tester can help the former quickly come up to speed on the development lifecycle.
  • Pair tests are also helpful in supporting collaboration among different roles and expand the purview of QA operations. Testers can pair up with designers to get a sense of the software’s visual significance and design relevant test scenarios. Similarly, testers can pair with business analysts to ascertain how a customer-facing feature can be enhanced to boost revenue streams and brand credibility.
  • When bugs are identified, pair tests are perfect for bringing objectivity into the debugging process. With the second set of (preferably fresh) eyes on the job, it became much less likely for incorrect code to go unnoticed.

Benefits of Pair Testing

  • Breaks down siloes for better collaboration: Since pair testing requires people from the same and different teams to collaborate. Hands-on knowledge sharing and test activities break the ice between teams or individuals, invites new perspectives into QA, and keeps everyone appraised of overall project progress. It also fosters better inter-team relationships.
  • High creativity: Working in a pair forces each person to explain their ideas and react to the ideas of others. The simple process of phrasing ideas seems to bring them into better focus and naturally triggers more ideas. 
  • Easy Training Technique : A strong pairing is one where people are grouped so that their strengths will mutually complement their weaknesses. This presents an opportunity for people to learn from one another. Pairing is a good way for novices to keep learning by testing with others. It’s also useful for experienced testers when they are new to a domain to quickly pick up business knowledge.
  • High productivity: Each person must stay focused on the task or risk letting their partner down.  Pairing allows the person at the keyboard to follow their train of thought without pausing to take notes or locate reference information. It encourages dogged pursuit of insights. Two people working together limits the willingness of others to interrupt them.
  • Provides greater accuracy: A tester may miss out on a bug if they know the feature too well from its initial development phases. Technical personnel can lose sight of how actual end-users may approach the software.In pair testing, testers can join forces with someone less technically oriented (business analysts, product owners) to not miss out on the obvious errors. A fresh pair of eyes can contrast their “curse of knowledge” and help keep them connected to end-users’ concerns.Even if they pair up with a tester from another team, valuable feedback can come from the person not acquainted with the software. Basically, pair testing provides QAs with a pair of fresh eyes to examine software with, which tends to identify far more bugs than one tester working alone.
  • Promotes Knowledge Sharing: This might not be a tangible benefit, but its importance should not be downplayed. With experts from different teams/roles working together, both individuals will better understand how diverse software development operations work.Naturally, this fosters easier communication and helps individuals gain a more comprehensive understanding of team dynamics. This results in people who work better together (always a good thing) in the long run.
  • Creates Better Bug Reports: With two people examining software for bugs, bug reports tend to be more detailed, which helps developers address issues faster. Additionally, with insights from members from different teams, bugs are analyzed from not just technical perspectives but from customer-facing and financially relevant POVs.

Pair testing is one kind of what Malcolm Isaacs calls “social software testing”. When following an agile methodology and shifting left, it’s crucial for testers, developers, product owners, and other participants in the SDLC to come together for collaboration. Pair testing is just way one to do this.

While it may not be as deeply technical as, say, test automation might be, there are clearly many advantages to having two team members get together to discuss the quality of the application under test — what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to change?

Finally, it is a blend of team work and testing but it has many advantages like sharing knowledge about testing and SUT, training new members, making barrier between members and above that it is fun. we should use pair testing wisely.

Better software. Together.

Do you know of any other resources that might be useful to add to this list?

REFERENCES

  1. Pair Testing
  2. Exploratory Testing in Pairs Cem Kaner & James Bach
  3. Boost acceptance testing with pair testing Mark de Bono
  4. Testing Dojos
  5. The Power of Pairing Mike Talks
  6. Pairing – seeing the flipside of the coin Ben Kelly
  7. Pair Testing: How I bought developers into the test lab Jonathan Kohl
  8. The Moment Marlena Compton
  9. Pair Testing or something like it Matt Heusser
  10. Communication avenues to pairing opportunities Sean Cresswell
  11. Pair Testing QA Hipster
  12. Pair Testing: A Beginner’s Guide Shreya Bose
  13. Pair testing – A best practice to enhance accessibility test coverage Sunil Dangwal

Please feel free to share your story and any lessons you learned, experienced, you came across in your life in the comments below. If you enjoyed this or any other posts, I’d be honored if you’d share them with your family, friends, and followers!

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Posted by on February 14, 2022 in Technical

 

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