Pink box testing
Some years ago (1999′ish) I was in a job where I needed to bring in a lot of software contractors in a short space of time. As a result I ended up dealing with a good number of IT contracting agencies. To help the process I wrote very specific job / task descriptions, and sent these to all agencies.
Generally I would receive agency-specific CVs, where they had reformatted the candidate’s CV, and in places tweaked the content. Over time it became clear that some agencies certainly did a lot more than reformatting, adding things they thought I wanted to see. This was really annoying, as the fabrication would reveal itself at some point in the process, sometimes after wasting time on a candidate.
We needed a software tester, and while writing the task description I decided to see how far the agencies would go. The descriptions all had a section listing required skills and experience, and another listing desirables. In the required section I listed “Pink box testing experience”. There’s no such thing as Pink box testing (see below) – I made it up to see if I received any CVs with pink box testing listed.
Sure enough, a week or so after putting out the description, I received a CV for a software tester. He clearly had a lot of relevant experience, but the agency had added pink box testing as one of his strengths (it was an agency modification, not a claim of the candidate). It was fun ringing up the agent and explaining that he’d been caught in my trap, and listening to him trying to weasel his way out.
No such thing as Pink Box testing?
I can’t remember exactly when this was, but from my memory is was most likely 1999 or early 2000. At the time I did a quick web search to see if there was any such thing as pink box testing, and a quick skim of my testing books. Certainly didn’t seem to be at that time. As several commenters have pointed out, there are (now) several valid definitions of pink box testing, not all of them appropriate for polite conversation.
The term “pink box” was clearly relevant to phone phreakers at that time, so the term “pink box testing” made sense in at least that context, but in the context of software testing it didn’t.