6.1. Do Sweat the Details: Staying on Top of Everything

The common thread running through all the tips in this section is the importance of remaining in control of the details swirling around you. During test execution, you will have many items to attend to, all of them urgent, but you should be sure to set aside some time to look at where your testing is taking you. Are you on track? What risks and roadblocks loom? In that spirit, here are some suggestions that should help you survive crunch time.

6.1.1. Moving Forward While Getting All the Facts: The Desire for Certitude, the Imperative of Progress

Imagine that you and I have two conversations. In the first, we're standing near a brick house, and you point to the wall and say, "Look at that chameleon! It changed color to match the brick." I look, I see the lizard, I notice its red hue, and I agree. In the second, you say, "Did you know that my golden retriever Gertrude can talk?" In the absence of hearing the dog talk myself, I'm not likely to believe you.

Often, the most interesting bug reports start out along these lines: J did X, and everything seemed to be going fine. Then, all of a sudden Y happened, and the system crashed. Sadly, you then discover that repeating the action X doesn't repeat the consequence Y. You try it a dozen times, but you can duplicate it only once or twice. You change some variables that might be related, and you can't reproduce the problem. But maybe it's not gone. It's hard to tell these types of ...

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