August 8, 2007

Things We Know

Posted by Ben Simo

 Charles Maxwell: Shark attacks helicopter I find it at work. I find it in online forums. I find it in books. I find it in papers. I find it in blogs. I find it at conferences.

I hear it from experts. I hear it from freshers. I hear it from friends. I hear it from managers. I sometimes even hear it come out of my own mouth.

It influences testers. It influences developers. It influences managers that influence testers and developers. It impacts customers.

It wastes time. It wastes money. It frustrates developers. It confuses executives. It demeans testers. It decreases quality in the name of improvement.

It permeates the practice of developing and testing software.

What is this ubiquitous it?

It is testing folklore.

It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that gets us in trouble. It’s the things we know that ain’t so.
- Artemus Ward

Here are some examples I pulled off the top of my head:
  • There are best practices
  • Tool vendors know those best practices
  • The right tools make good testing
  • Testers are the enemies of developers
  • Automated unit testing is the only testing we need
  • Written requirements are needed for testing
  • It is possible to document unambiguous requirements
  • Repeatability is maturity
  • Tests can be completely designed and scripted before execution
  • Testing is simple if guided by the right process
  • Quality can be tested into a product
  • Good manual testing can be replaced by automation
  • Automation is only good for regression testing
  • Test case counts are a good measure of test status
  • All web pages should load in under 6 seconds
  • Testers need to have development skills
  • Good testing can be pre-scripted to be executed by anyone that can follow directions
  • Boundaries are easy to identify
  • Most bugs occur at boundaries
  • Testing is easily outsourced to unintelligent people
  • Testing is easily outsourced to tools
  • Increased testing effort improves quality
What folklore do you encounter?

It is time to unlearn those things we know that ain't so. Challenge the folklore. Ask questions.

  • Who says so?
  • How do they know?
  • What are they missing?
  • Does it apply to my context?
  • Does it make sense?

Maybe its time to call Mythbusters.



August 08, 2007  
Mubbashir wrote:

Since i have subscribe your blog i am enjoying every single bit of it. Thanks for telling us things in such a interesting way.
Thanks for puling out things from your head to make them a part of ours.


August 09, 2007  
Anonymous wrote:

As I see it, your list of testing folklor is comprised almost entirely of half truths - or, it's almost like the "secret" game where you whisper something in someone's ear, then they whisper the same thing in someone else's ear, and so on, until the original whisper gets back to you and it has changed.

A few of the bits of folklore are just plain stupid and defy common sense. A few others are almost close. For example:

Most bugs occur at boundaries - no, some bugs occur at boundaries.

Good manual testing can be replaced by automation - no, some manual testing may be replaced by automation.

Testers need to have development skills - no, some testers on your team should probably have development skills - more importantly, a good portion of your test team should have some deep technical knowledge of the technology they are testing. If your product is an operating system or a development environment, you should probably have a lot of testers who know how to program. If your product is a bank teller UI, you should probably have some portion of the test team who deeply understand banking.

Uggh - folklore like this almost makes me embarrassed to be a tester.

August 13, 2007  
Ben Simo wrote:

@ Mubbashir:

Thank you for reading.

@ Alan:

Lies appear more believable when they contain a hint of truth -- often pulled out of context. Others -- as you say -- are just plain stupid but still get some traction.


August 16, 2007  
Anonymous wrote:

Your page speaks about a very interesting subject. If you want to enter in my web is

Naruto fan.