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Three Secret Weapons for Combating Bugs

Ashley Holbrook
July 26, 2019

Hey there! Ashley here. 


After two years of testing at Crema, I started to realize I was doing some specific things when it comes to testing.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was doing them for a strategic reason.  And the more I thought about the realization, I concluded these things are related to bugs!  I've gathered up these three specific things I do instinctively to find bugs.


Code Bug


Fresh eyes makes bugs easier to see

Take a break! Becoming blinded by being too close to a project is a common issue we all can experience. It happens when the app is used every day all the time.  Without even realizing it, workarounds can be established. Something pops up and is clicked immediately without looking at what it said. Expected behaviour is forgotten, and it just becomes the flow. 


A good way to break this habit is to take a break from the project.  Put it down for a week even. Coming back to the app after a long break freshens the eyes.   It’s like getting to use the app as a new user.  Hopefully, bugs will stick out. With sharp, fresh eyes, bugs are easier to see. 



Giving bugs nowhere to hide

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like to procrastinate.  This is not always a bad thing.  The type of procrastination I’m referring to means waiting until there’s a handful of tickets to test in a sprint. Saving up some stories for one day of testing can have side benefits.  Testing multiple features at once helps with testing connections between those features.  Instead of staying in one little area in the app, different areas are tested with various actions across those areas.  


On days like these, I really get into the app, spending hours in it, building a giant mental map in my mind of connections and results.  I get in the zone!  Maybe there’s a feature which requires ooodles of data creation to be able to test it.  Most likely there’s another feature which also requires that same data.  Two birds with one stone!  This type of environment--in the zone, data everywhere, actions for hours--this is the material to flush out unexpected results. Bugs have nowhere to hide!

If you don’t look for the bugs they feel safe and come out of hiding

This tip people are more familiar with, and it’s potentially the easiest of them all. I like to grab an iPad, sit myself down in front of the TV, and tap away.  I consider this a type of exploratory testing. It’s done outside a ticket in your free time. 


The key is to not think too hard about what you’re doing. This hopefully leads to actions and paths not normally taken. Mindlessly tapping away is great. The real challenge is noticing when something unexpected happens and remembering what lead to it. 


Sometimes, this is the only way to find those sneaky, hard-to-find edge case bugs. Our brains can get in the way of ‘creative’ uses of the app. If you don’t look for bugs, they feel safe and come out of hiding. 

Summary

I hope you find these tips helpful. Give them a try and let me know how it goes. Were you doing these without realizing?  What do you do to combat bugs? Got any secret weapons I missed?  Let me know!


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