Making it clear

At James Bach’s request: testing needs incisive and restless thinkers.

UPDATE: As requested in comments to the original posting, the context:

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, I was a vigorous proponent of the Context-Driven school of testing. As was typical of members of that school, I was intensely interested in test design, which I’d define as “thinking well about how to execute the app in order to fulfill the testing team’s goal.” (My favorite goal being to be “a service organization whose job is to reduce damaging uncertainty about the perceived state of the product.”) Also: people thinking well about anything deserve respect, more respect than testers got. So I was an advocate for the worth of tester as an identity.

Since then, especially since around 2003, my interests have drifted to the point where I now refer to myself as “having a testing slant” rather than “being a tester.” (And, more and more, I use the word “examples” rather than tests to remind myself that I’m not doing what I used to do.) I’ve also emphasized tendencies I’ve long had that didn’t come into play as much in my testing days. For example, I’m much more focused on harmony and trust and deferring to others than I used to be (although that tendency can be seen way back in 1998’s “Working effectively with developers“).

There’s a problem when someone who used to write exclusively about X stops. Does it mean that he repudiates X? Am I now happy if testers have low status? Do I think that testers who don’t code are useless? Do I think manual testing is rote work that doesn’t require incisive thought?

I could argue that I haven’t completely stopped writing. If you look at my recent test design links post, you’ll find links to a bunch of writings squarely in the context-driven tradition, and such linking signals approval. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be completely explicit, especially because (1) I write a lot about automated tests, (2) test automation comes with a lot of historical baggage and so is an emotionally charged topic, and (3) the early interactions between the Agile proponents and testers generated even more baggage because the Agile proponents often did act exactly like we testers were used to programmers acting: dismissive. Fortunately, that’s mostly corrected itself. But still… hurt feelings persist.

Because of all that, the original statement seemed useful.

2 Responses to “Making it clear”

  1. Exploration Through Example » Blog Archive » Making it clear Says:

    […] UPDATE: As requested in the comments, I’ve expanded on this. […]

  2. Вибрані цитати | Андрій Рущак в Інтернеті Says:

    […] “Testing needs incisive and restless thinkers” Brian Marick (тут) […]

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