Interoperability 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 interoperability tour.

With the interoperability (or compatibility) tour you attempt to answer the questions, “What does this application interact with?”, “How well does it work with external components and configurations?”, and “What does it depend on to function properly?” I recently worked on a project that experienced under 75% uptime in it’s test environment for the entire test cycle due to all the environmental problems we had and all the external services the application relied on.

In this tour, look for what applications, operating systems, hardware, and services the product needs to function. Does it need any special plugins, drivers, fonts, or language runtimes (Java, Ruby, etc…) to operate correctly? An easy tip that you might be interfacing with an external service may be the appearance of data that you (the user) didn’t enter. In addition, sometimes degradation in performance can be a clue that there is something happening in the background.

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.)