Yesterday I momentarily got something to ponder about. I realized it later though. My colleague wanted me to prepare test cases for one of the modules. For those who don't know what Test cases are, it's like a testing methodology. You make all sorts of scenarios to test the functionalities of a module developed. Like, if you enter this and click on this button, these are the front end and back end processes and output. But they include both positive and negative cases. As in, how actually the module would behave and how it will react to any wrong input or in case of any exception. Since I had not prepared test cases earlier, so he gave me some examples.
"If you enter some wrong value, this is the error message which should appear"; "if the user selects this and the mapping is not available, this is the warning message which should appear"; "if the transaction is not completed, the database won't store the details of the incomplete transactions" etc etc…
So, I prepared further and sent the file to him and he politely calls me and appreciates me of doing this task BUT with a word of advice and observation. I had mentioned only the cases where any wrong value is entered as input or in case of exceptions how the module would behave but I had completely missed out the cases where the module would behave with positive values and in normal flow. But he said that it was not my fault. It was because he had shown all negative examples to me so I perceived that preparing test cases mean listing all negative cases. It was like, I co-related the word testing and the negative examples and made out that for testing a module, I should look how the module would react to wrong input. Had he given me positive examples also, my perception would have been totally different.
Moral of the story:
Make sure of how you want the person to perceive any situation and show him the complete picture. One sided picture is incomplete and may have permanent impact which may become difficult to modify later. People rarely use their minds to probe further to get the complete image. What you show makes more prominent impact. Imagine, if I would not have sent him the first file of the test cases and would have gone ahead to prepare cases for another 6-7 modules and given all of them to him. I would have been irritated on learning the actual functionality of the test cases after so many of them and my effort in rectifying all of them later.