Data tour

Sometimes while I'm testing a new application, I struggle to get started. To help me focus and better understand my testing, I use application tours to support my testing. One the tours that I use is the data tour.

In the data tour you identify the major data elements of the application: what they are, where they are, where they go, and where they come from. When taking your data tour, don’t only identify application inputs and outputs, look for default values, configuration files, options settings, and temporal data (data that has relationships with time). Note the size and structure of the data you find (especially if it’s representative of production data). Look for possible ways to corrupt data or for ways data can get into the system in ways developers may not anticipate. Attempt to identify how the data can be created, accessed, modified, and deleted.

For a more descriptive look at using application tours, see an article I did for Software Test and Performance a few years ago. (It starts on page 20.)
HeuristicsMichael Kelly