Monday, December 24, 2012

TFS Live - Win 8 App


Important Note**: This app only works with TFS that are accessible over internet (extranet) or hosted TFS

Important Note**: if you are trying with hosted TFS, please refer to slide 17 of this PPT for configuration change

This app is for the users that are currently using Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) for work item management (bugs, test cases and tasks). 

Test Data & Configuration Steps:
1. After installation of the application, go to “Configure”
2. Select “TFS Settings” charm
3. Enter “TFS Server” as
4. Enter “domain\username or live id” as
5. Enter “password” as  nothing123$
6. Press Authenticate. Wait for completion
7. Select Project Name as cmmi6.1
8. Select Test Plan as “Select All” (default) OR any other test plan in the drop down
9. Select Iteration Path as “Select All” (default) OR any other iteration in the drop down
10. Select Role as “Manager”
11. Press Done. Wait for completion
12. You will get an alert to allow "live tiles updates". Please press allow.

Expected Result:
Once you have the above information, you can see the dashboard and other details to verify the application functionality

Feature - TFS Web Access Integration from Tiles
Clicking on the tiles will redirect the user to IE 10 to show more details about the number shown in the tile.

Warning: Please ensure that you are not logged in to Hotmail/Live/Outlook account when you are doing this step. Ensure that you log out from Hotmail / Live / Outlook account before trying this step

1. Click on the tile
2. It will redirect to IE 10
3. You will be shown Live Authentication screen to provide outlook credentials

4. Enter “username” as
5. Enter “password” as  nothing123$
6. Press Sign In

Expected Result:

Browser will successfully connect to TFS Web access and will show the details.

Please contact or for any help required to set this up.
Happy testing !!! Appreciate your time and effort.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

“The Avengers” from Microsoft Global Delivery Testing, on a mission to save the world (Testing Skit/Funny)


I am back again with another stage act that won our test team a title among 15 other participating teams. If you have read my earlier  attempt (blogged here) and liked it, you will hopefully find this funny.

IMG_0841 IMG_0846


--------------------------------------------Start of Script----------------------------------------------------------

<<Scene 1>>

------------------------------------James Bond music playing in the background……………………………….

-------A person comes with a board “Innovation 2013 Awards Ceremony” --------------------------

Sweta (Host): The next IP Innovation Award goes to the Avengers team from GD Community - Testing.

--------------James Bond, Superman, Gunjan (Idea Owner), Arup (Tester 1), Aditya (Community Lead) run to the stage and almost snatch the award from the host. They pose for the group photos and celebrate………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Sweta (Host) to Team: Do you want to tell us your story?

James Bond (Manish): Let me take you back in time 3 months


A person comes with a board “3 months back….”

<</Scene 1>>

<<Scene 2>>

………………………..Test team is working and James Bond comes to the scene………………………………………

James Bond (Manish): hey Superman, I have got a mission for you. To save the humanity, you need to execute these many test cases

Superman (Raj): wallah, these test cases are in Arabic. How would I execute?

James Bond (Manish): come on, you are superman. You can do anything

Superman (Raj): Even superman can’t execute test cases in Arabic

James Bond (Manish): Don’t worry. This is Bond. I have amazing “bonding” with the customer. Let me call them up now.

………… James Bond (Manish) to call the customer. Customer picks the call>>………………………..............

James Bond (Manish): Hello, this is Bond. Mutual Bond

Customer (Sweta) <sounding annoyed>>: Who Bond?

-------------Superman (Raj) and Arup (Tester1) laugh behind him that Bond is after all not so popular……

James Bond (Manish): (tone changes): Actually this is Manish. Testing team. Your test lead.

Customer (Sweta) <sounding annoyed>>:: Do you know what time it is?

James Bond (Manish): sincere apologies. We are in a situation and we need a translator for those Arabic test cases. How early can we get?

Customer (Sweta): It will take 2 weeks to hire one

James Bond (Manish): Ok. I guess I will ask my team to join some Arabic speaking classes

Customer (Sweta): Do whatever it takes but don’t call up again

…………………………………………………………the call ends…………………………………………………………………………………..

James Bond (Manish) (Looks tensed and in deep thoughts)

Tester 1 (Arup): Bond, did you remember our community test newsletter has an update on the language translator tool our guys are working on?

James Bond (Manish) <<thinking why this idea didn’t come to him, pauses and says with authority>>: I know that. I was going to say exactly that. go back to work

James Bond (Manish) <<now looks cheerful and happy>>: Let me go the community lead and talk to him

<</Scene 2>>

<<Scene 3>>

James Bond (Manish): hey Community Lead, my name is Bond. Covalent Bond !! I heard you have got some magic tool for translation

Community Lead (Aditya): sure. Let me connect you with Gunjan (Idea Owner), whose team is working on it

<<Manish and Community Lead (Aditya) go to Gunjan (Idea Owner)’steam>>

Community Lead (Aditya): meet Gunjan (Idea Owner)

James Bond (Manish): hey, this is Bond. Brooke Bond!! I need you to share the location, locale, coordinates to download it

Gunjan (Idea Owner): dude… we have just done a POC of that. We are still in the implementation phase.. if you want to use it…you will need to help us and I can’t promise you extra hours of billing.

James Bond (Manish): When it comes to saving the world, who care about the hours

James Bond (Manish): I have got a superman and a man to help you. Let’s work together.

<<Team forms a huddle and start working on the tool >>

<</Scene 3>>

---------------------------a poster comes saying “v1.0 of the tool is released”……………………………………….

<<Scene 4>>

James Bond (Manish): so what’s up Superman?

Superman (Raj) <<sound panicked>> – Done with the Arabic thing. But now they want to release it in Europe and they have sent the test cases in Spanish and German too

James Bond (Manish): Don’t worry. Bond. Amazing “bonding” with the customer. Let me call the customer.

Arup: Bond, if you don’t mind, our language translator tool using Bing Translator APIs and it will work fine for all these languages

James Bond (Manish): I know that. I was going to say exactly the same. You get back to your work now. Let me call the customer and tell them.

<< James Bond (Manish) calls Customer (Sweta)>>

James Bond (Manish): hello, this is Bond.

Customer: Now what?

James Bond (Manish): We no longer require those translators

Customer (Sweta): good. It will save us 1000 hours

Bond: I know

Customer (Sweta): by the way, what did you do?

James Bond (Manish) (pauses and with a wicked laugh): we learnt all the languages J

Customer (Sweta): now you can call yourself “Universal” Bond

James Bond (Manish): I know <<hangs up the call>>

<</Scene 4>>

<<Scene 5>>

James Bond (Manish): Guys, now that we have saved the work. It calls for a party. Everyone join us.

<<The teams come to the stage and assemble>>

Community lead: Guys, this is great collaboration. I know there are many projects that are struggling with the same problem. I think you should all do a brown bag and session for this at our internal conference. I will make sure everyone gets recognition for their hard work

----poster comes “1000 downloads & 20 projects internally re-using this ”…………………………………………

<</Scene 5>>

----------------------------------------------------The END----------------------------------------------------------------

Morale of the act: The skit was about a test team at GD that showed how a team can collaborate and innovate by doing the heavy lifting themselves and getting the right help from community, who acts as enabler. You don’t need superheroes to do wonders. You just need regular guys work together and solve big challenges.



Community Lead (Testing): Aditya Jain

Test Lead 1 (Lead role) – Manish [as James Bond]

Tester 1 – Raj U [as Superman]

Tester 2 – Arup Dutta [regular guy]

Test Lead 2(Idea Owner) - Gunjan Jain [regular girl]

Host – Sweta Prakash

Customer – Sweta Prakash

Poster Bearer – Jayakant Pottum

Written & Directed by:

Raj Kamal

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Testing a NUI (Natural User Interface) application fit for a King!

It all started 2 years back in Riyadh, a place in middle of nowhere. If you like desert then that is a place to be. Now imagine interacting with Sheikhs (customers) for requirements who don’t really understand English. Potential users include Ministers, Crown Prince and King of Saudi Arabia himself. To make things tougher, how about having a team that consist of people from 12 different nationalities and trying to execute an agile project from 6 different geographies & time zones.


Major Test Challenges

As you would have guessed, it didn’t start all very well as we had our share of tough times and nervous nights before Sprint demos in front of the customer and esteemed guests..

Other major challenges

1. Lack of strategy and wisdom around testing NUI applications

2. Unavailability of Hardware (Surface 2.0) during development phase

3. The application was in Arabic and finding a way to test it using English data

Key Test Learning

The new learning for us was testing NUI based multi-touch machines. The following approaches helped:

1. Focus was given to Usability guidelines, wireframes and working closely with UX designer to ensure that the ‘look and feel’ of the application is apt for the local taste and the expectations of the high ranking officials to make give it rich experience..

2. We used Surface simulator for testing the application on non-touch machines and all-in-one multi touch machines as an economical alternative when Surface 2.0 wasn’t available. When Surface 2.0 was available the final round of testing was done on it.

3. We proposed Visual Studio Database features to maintain Arabic and English version the data and Resource files to have the labels in Arabic & English. That helped in switching the content to English or Arabic by just changing minor configurations.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The 3 Rules of Snakes in Testing

Jim from Netscape was renowned for his ability to voice his beliefs and summarize situations in manner at once ‘down home’ and exactly to the point. Barksdale’s “rules of snakes” where snakes allude to business issues and problems can be also be applied to testing profession.

Below is my version of Jim’s snake-ism rules:

Rule 1: Think of bugs as snakes, if you see a snake, don’t call committees, don’t call your buddies, don’t form a team, don’t get a meeting together, just kill the snake.

Learning: Report the bugs as soon as you find them and highest priority should be tracking them to closure.

Rule 2: If you kill a snake, or get a bug fixed, tell other testers and developers.

Learning: That way they too can keep a lookout for them in that area.

Rule 3: Don’t go back and play with dead snakes or bugs that have clear resolution.

Learning: Once the resolution and the impact is clear, it is advised not to keep spending more time on it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Importance of Testing in Envision and Planning Phase

When you are working as a Test Consultant and if you are involved in the early phases of the engagement, it is quite important to deliver the test artifacts on a regular basis to show measurable progress. That can help a long way to win the confidence of the customer and the stakeholders involved. Arguably, the other disciplines (like developers, architects, business analysts) have relatively less to do to prove their worth as they own the key artifacts like Vision scope document & Functional specifications, which are perceived as the most critical ones for the success of the project. Though the test planning is an equally important activity as any other development activity of envisioning and planning phase it doesn’t get the same attention. Overall it gives a wrong impression that the testing team is not adding as much value as the development team in the initial phases of the project. I believe it is important to write a quality test plan that is not verbose but highly customized and designed, keeping in the mind the specific requirements and technology stack for the given project. It is critical for us to educate the customers by evangelizing the importance of testing in the initial phases.

I was in a discussion with the customers and they had this strong opinion that they are paying a lot of money for testing teams to just review requirements and write test cases. They recommended us to write automation scripts only without spending any time on designing test scenarios and test cases. I highlighted our role and contribution in requirement elicitation process to identify the gaps and save the effort upfront rather than discovering them in the build or stabilization phase. To accomplish that goal we need to spend effort in coming up with a detailed test plan and strategy that best fits the unique needs and requirements of the project in hand. We methodologically identify the areas that are best candidates for automation based on the ROI (Return on Investment) to save effort and time during the test execution phase. The quality of the automation scripts depends on the coverage of the underlying test cases / test scenarios and hence it is important to have them. At the end of the discussion I could sense that the customers were still skeptical and I didn’t expect them to get totally convinced either. I bought time and promised them to give a small demonstration of our capabilities by doing some quick POCs (Proof of Concepts).

From the requirements, I picked the most important ones and studied the pattern, the behavior and looked at the testability aspect of them and prepared a list of test techniques. I wanted to reduce my test cases to a number that is manageable and maintainable. I figured out that they had lot of complex process workflows where there are multiple jumps, branches and loops. I couldn’t cover them even if I wrote a whole bunch of test cases and even after doing that it will not guarantee that I didn’t miss an important path. We had the Visio's of those workflows so why not use a “State Transition Table? I came up with a quick template to represent their most complex workflow and ensured I covered at least every state and every transition once. I had added a flag to be able to filter the main flows/alternate flows.

Then there were a few complex business rules that had lot of conditional clauses and the result depended on the outcome of all those clauses. Again I realized that there can be lot of permutation here and I didn’t want to take chances. “Decision Table” just sounded right to me. I quickly prepared one covering positive and negative flows and here I had a table that was covering it all.

For lot of data entry forms, there were many fields and especially drop downs, radio buttons and checkboxes. I didn’t want my team to randomly pick values and tomorrow miss double-mode types of defects.Orthogonal array of testing” can be helpful and I thought of using its Pairwise implementation to solve that problem. I used a free tool from Microsoft called PICT and voila from 72 permutations I had now arrived at just 9 permutations scientifically that ensures every pair is covered at least once.

After a couple of days I had put together a few running POCs of these techniques in addition to test cases that used standard techniques like EP & BVA (Equivalence Partitioning and Boundary Value Analysis). I quickly came up with the best way to structure and organize my test artifacts using Microsoft Test Manager. I created a sample Requirement Traceability Matrix using Test Manager. I decided on my test suites and also defined different test configurations as the application is being targeted for multiple platforms.

In 3 days, we were in a conference room with all the customers and stakeholders including our project team. I ran the demos of my test techniques on the real requirements. I showed them we would ensure test coverage and provide them the requirement traceability reports using Test Manager. PICT was like magic to them. State transition tables taught them that testing is much more than randomly clicking buttons and following plain steps. Automation can be done only after you perform these key activities and test cases are not just plain word documents.

The meeting went well and ended with encouraging remarks like “Can you send me the link of that tool? “, “Can you share these with us for Unit testing?”, “We want you to demo this to our test team", “This sounds great”. It was evident from their response that we had their confidence.

Stay tuned for more post. I can be reached at

Disclaimer: This blog is my personal opinion and I apologize if it hurt your sentiments. In the words of my friend Arun ( , “When a developer starts in a project he is already 100 miles high whereas a tester is 100 miles buried under the ground and it takes the tester lot of work to reach up there and prove his value before his work is acknowledged “

TechNet: SQL Server 2012 DQS (Data Quality Services) for Testing Teams

MSDN Technet Article on SQL Server 2012 (Code name: Denali) DQS (Data Quality Services) for Testing team: