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How to improve developer-testers collaboration?

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BANGALORE, INDIA: Microsoft Test Manager 2010 is an Integrated Test Environment that reduces friction points between developers and testers, resulting in improved collaboration and productivity. Microsoft Test Manager 2010 is available with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 editions.

The Bug Ping-Pong
Both developers and testers want to ship high-quality software that meets the expectations of the customers and stakeholders. But, the reality is that there exists a divide – a chasm – between developers and testers. Unfortunately, bugs are often difficult to reproduce. The reasons could be varied – poorly documented bug reports, difficulty in recreating the inputs that triggered the bug, differences between the development environment and the test environment etc. This results in a lot of churn between developers and testers as the bug is passed back and forth for more information. The most common bug resolutions are “Cannot reproduce”, “Won’t Fix” or “Not a Bug”.

Microsoft Test Manager 2010
In order to make “Fixed” the most common bug resolution, we need tools that help the development team and the testing team integrate with one another and easily exchange information. Microsoft Test Manager 2010 is for testers what Visual Studio is for developers. That is to say, where Visual Studio is an IDE – an integrated development environment, Test Manager is an ITE – an integrated test environment. This is the interface that a tester will use to create test cases, organize test plans, track test results, and file bugs when defects are found. Test Manager is integrated with Team Foundation Server, and is designed to improve the productivity of testers.

Create actionable bugs – using DDAs
An actionable bug contains enough information so that a developer is able to take IMMEDIATE action to fix the bug. The Test Agent – included with Visual Studio 2010 – is a piece of software that can be installed on the machines in the test environment. A Test Agent includes a set of Diagnostic Data Adaptors (DDAs), which can be used to:

Collect a video capture of the tester’s machine.
Collect the steps performed during the test execution.
Collect system information from any or all of the machines involved in the test execution.
Collect an action recording—a recording of the keyboard strokes and mouse clicks performed by the tester.
Collect and IntelliTrace file which can be later used to replay the events during the test run.

An actionable bug is the result of executing a test case using Microsoft Test Manager 2010, discovering a defect, and using the tool to create and file a new bug. To begin a tester launches Test Manager and selects a test case to run.

When the test case is run, the Test Manager interface changes to support the Test Runner activity—the tool becomes a dock-able sidebar interface enabling the tester to easily work step through the test case, maintaining focus on both the Test Runner and the application being tested. When the test run is started the Test Runner displays the sequence of steps to be executed.

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(The author works as program manager, Visual Studio Test & Lab Management at Microsoft India Development Center, Hyderabad)

Diclaimer: The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of CIOL

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