I'll go straight to business. Not long did the 2016 last before another round of questioning testing started. This time however it was started by someone who I thought to be knowledgeable about the premise of testing and the relevance of it. Here's the tweet:
I fail to understand the purpose of this kind of tweet, but at least it stirred some thoughts.
I'm a tester. Not only by profession but by nature. To be more exact: I'm an exploratory tester, which means that I explore in order to find more information about everything that is in my path. And I do mean everything. I shudder to the thought of me testing just software. I test ideas, plans, processes, ways of working and even people. All give information that can be used for decision making. I've chosen to study this craft in order to be more effective, scientific, pragmatic and ultimately helpful.
All this doesn't however mean that I wouldn't question this craft and its relevance constantly. Even though I've invested to it so much and even though it provides livelihood to me and my family, I still question it and its relevance. And my relevance. However I found this questioning on the premise of understanding the craft. So many who question the relevance of testing don't really care to understand it.
That is very true that the conventional way of doing testing is at the end of its lifecycle. And by conventional I mean running prescripted checks that cover mainly software functionalities and that are supported by half-ass non-functional scenarios from the domain of performance, security, usability and so on. And often this nonsense is maintained by a bored test manager, who acts as a single point of brains for the testing team, which consists of mentally detached testers who want to see nothing else than a row of green lights so that they can continue with their primary job, or go home early. That is my caricature for conventional testing, and I see nothing wrong in trying to end that kind of nonsense.
But if you've never seen the likes of James Bach, Michael Bolton, Maaret Pyhäjärvi, Aleksis Tulonen, Richard Bradshaw, Ru Cindrea - just to name a few - performing their magic in testing, chances are that you've missed a great deal of something that makes testing so valuable, and ultimately relevant. It's not just them testing the software that counts, even though it's quite important and equally remarkable; It's the way these people think and contribute to the whole team/project/company in terms of programming, development, communication, teamwork, leadership, whatnot. There's nothing quite like it.
|Monkey immersed in testing|
For me testing is about mastering the strategies and tactics of digging valuable information for the benefit of decision making done by yourself or by someone else relevant. That can be anything really. Founding a company requires testing. Figuring out what kind of product should be built requires testing. Choosing ways of working, tools, programming languages, people, whatnot requires testing. Launching a product to the market does not only require testing, it IS testing. Even sticking your nose out into the cold air in the morning to find out if you should put on that cardigan you got for Christmas present is testing.
Please understand that.
Please understand that.
Questioning something you don't really understand to progress your career or some hidden agenda is questionable by itself. Especially if it's done to the detriment of those who've worked hard to become great at this wonderful craft and those who are greatly dependent of these peoples' efforts. If you however question testing in order to learn more about it, there are countless people who are willing to welcome you with open arms and help you. Me included.