Define: Snow plow testing in context

Imagine that the city has just have a ton of snow – a solid layer everywhere. The snow plows come out – first they take the highways, then the main roads, the bus roads, the side roads. They miss the private roads and pedestrian streets, but that’s OK – because they get the city started.

2013-01-26 19.05.11

Smoke Testing vs. Sanity Testing: What You Really Need to Know | Michael Bolton | Nov 2011]

Both smoke testing and sanity testing refer to a first-pass, shallow form of testing intended to establish whether a product or system can perform the most basic functions.

Snow plow testing  is my usual way to avoid the Smoke test/Sanity test discussion. That is until I had to explain it to my Indian colleagues … they had never seen snow. For all they knew, it could as well have been the Black Viper Testing Technique.

We re-framed the activity to Test environment check – the early morning (Danish time) activity of taking the high-way scenarios in the system complex. Day after day it proved to be a very useful activity in many ways – all though it never cleared all the snow…

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8 thoughts on “Define: Snow plow testing in context

  1. Heh, heh. Where I live, the snow plows plow the roads, which allows traffic to flow. But as a side effect, they block the driveways and the corners for the sidewalks, so traffic remains light for a while.

  2. @Michael: I’m sure they block the driveways on purpose 😉 It could be beneficial only to allow light (testing) traffic for a while.

    @srinivas: Snow plow testing is an illustration. How you “perform” it depends on the context.

  3. Jesper, isn’t the testing technique situation dependent (whatever term we give e.g. Snow Plow/Black Viper/Smoke or Sanity/ Spider/Monkey Testing etc..)? More or less the same issue in different environment gets the same treatment, Similar technique we use with different name. Motto is to find the problem/risk, if you know take the precautions and be ready with instant solution.

    Different kind of problems make us to think of all possible ways to get it solve. We take reference from our surroundings and rationally try to implement into resolving the problem. It’s same with our testing technique (Context Driven)

    What if my test environment is strong enough and doesn’t require changes during my testing cycle until production deployment , do I need to do daily check-up? We do verify it in case of exceptional failure or some unexpected error during test execution. I consult my Dr only when I’m sick and lately identified, or in the beginning of my sickness when I feel, or it’s my routine check-up call.
    In Testing cognitively we anticipate and take the measure.

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