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Blue Quandong image from Pixabay licensed under Creative Commons CC0

Is there any naturally occurring blue food?

Leaving aside all jargon, a key skill in software testing is the ability to ask questions. Before qualifying the type of questions, it’s a good idea to try asking questions without any restrictions. For most people, it’s much easier to ask questions on a given subject or on a specific object. The software requirements or preferably a user story provides such a context. However, it is a good idea to not get too caught up in user stories when coming up with questions. Rather than being restricted by the user story, it’s better to be able to generate questions and then check the relevance to the story. It’s also important to ask questions which might not have occurred to anyone, including the person/s who wrote the user story (You don’t have to treat the product owner as all-knowing). Once you are comfortable generating questions, you can proceed to make sure they are relevant or otherwise qualify them.

(Challenge: Don’t click on this link until you read further and try coming up with an answer)‘Is there any naturally occurring blue food?’ (https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-naturally-occurring-blue-food) , was a question asked on Quora.com. It seems like a question that should have been asked (and answered) many times. However, most people may not have ever asked that question. You can read the question and the answers on Quora. Before you look at the question can you try to come up with answers to the question yourself. You can also try to come up with related questions and compare with the ones in Quora.

It isn’t enough to just ask questions. The more difficult part is coming up with answers. It’s obvious that blueberries are blue! Actually, they aren’t. Blueberries are purple. There are many purple foods, but not many which are blue. Sometimes answering a question starts with parsing the meaning of the words in the question itself. Blue is the color of the sky. There are a few rare fruits which are sky-blue. Why are there no blue fruit? Here is a possible explanation (http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/41817/straight-dope-why... ). That still leaves the question about blue meat and blue fish and seafood. It isn’t easy to find answers to some of these questions.

To relate the asking of questions to software development, I have listed some questions below which might have been asked when testing or developing a site like Linkedin.

It isn’t easy to come up with questions on a topic. It requires creativity. It may not require deep knowledge or study. The good news is that most people can do much better at asking questions once they know that is expected. They can also appreciate questions asked by others.

The blue quandong, in the image above, is a bitter edible fruit which is truly blue in color.

Sample questions for a site like Linkedin

I’ve avoided questions of the type, ‘..X does not work…’, e.g., ‘…my emails to the moderator are not received by him…’

  • I should think about how Linkedin applications use user data?
  • Is there any way to monitor that user data is not misused by apps?
  • Should there be an independent advocacy/monitoring group which monitors how apps use user data?
  • When users accept the permissions that the app requests, do they really know what they are doing?
  • Is there anyway to allow users to cancel the free subscription after the 30 day free trial, ….without bickering ?
  • What if the employee who managed a company page quits and the other employees don’t have access to the page?
  • How can the user tell that they have already requested a connection in the past?
  • How many connections might a user have over time? Can this make the software difficult to use?
  • Can a user search through all his connections?
  • Can a user delete a post that they have published?
  • I should think about how posts are publicized on Linkedin?
  • I should think about whether posts are promoted on search engines.
  • I should think about Linkedin’s strategy for search engine promotion.
  • Should users be informed how their profiles are promoted on search engines?
  • Can a user check who sees their updates? What about the date when their updates are seen?
  • Suppose a person leaves his job, do we need to care that he shows the company name and job in his current profile?
  • How should we handle members who have deceased? Do users need to be able to report such cases?
  • What if different family members use the same computer to access their individual accounts?
  • How are sessions managed by Linkedin?
  • Can I undo a sent Invitation? Can I delete multiple sent invitations?
  • How should Linkedin members handle scams?
  • What happens if the browser crashes when composing a long mail or discussion comment?

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Software testing, project management, managing testers

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