Four Ages of Testing

Blurb for my Google Testapalooza keynote:

Four Ages of Testing

Just as biological species do, testing approaches change to fill new ecological niches. This talk covers four broad approaches to testing. It will spend most of its time on the third, an unfinished punctured equilibrium where testing is struggling to balance its traditional role — dispassionate judge of an end result — with a new demand for active help during design. It will also hint at a niche just opening up, one where technology allows testing to become a much more direct conduit for the will of the users.

Brian Marick (,, was a programmer, tester, and team lead in the 80’s, a testing consultant in the 90’s, and is an Agile consultant this decade. He was one of the authors of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and is the author of two books (The Craft of Software Testing and Everyday Scripting with Ruby) and a bunch of articles. He turned down a pre-IPO job offer from Google, in part because he expected the craze for its stock to have ended by the time his options vested, which ought to make you wonder about his insight.

2 Responses to “Four Ages of Testing”

  1. Steven E. Newton Says:

    punctured equilibrium? PSSSSssssssshhhhhh…..

  2. Brian Marick Says:

    Nobody was supposed to notice that.

    Problem is that “punctuated equilibrium” is kind of ambiguous as to whether it’s referring to a system property or to an instance of that property, so I used a sound-alike.

    The link goes to the right place, at least.

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