Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
191.8 167.2 186.2 183.6 184.0 183.2 184.6

Tue, 29 Apr 2003

iTunes 4

When I was about 12, I would stay up late Saturday nights to listen to the local community college station's alternative show. "What is this Frank Zappa creature?" They say that the Golden Age of science fiction is 12; for me it was also the Golden Age of Rock.

When I was a freshman in college, I became a huge Prokofiev fan. I actually signed up for two years of Russian just so I could read Nestyev's biography in the original. (That proved to be a mistake...)

In recent years, I've drifted away from music, but some of my enthusiasm came back in the last few months. I've listened obsessively to mostly old fogey music: the Clash's London Calling, Patti Smith, Springsteen (especially Nebraska), and Shostakovich's 8th. So Apple's new iTunes music store came at a vulnerable moment.

It's not possible, maybe, for a 43 year old without any particular musical talent or training to recapture that feeling that music matters, but I have to say I feel close to that tonight. Being able to reach out to a world of songs that mattered to me, click on one, and have it...

Good job, Apple. Good idea. Fine execution. But where are the Stones?

## Posted at 20:52 in category /mac [permalink] [top]

Ferment: Roles, names, and skills

Mike Clark writes "I'm on a mission to help tear down the barriers we've so methodically built up between QA and developers. [...] So starting right now I'm making a resolution to not use the label 'QA' or 'tester'." He also recommends the use of tools like FIT that everyone can understand.

Greg Vaughn has a response. "I'm not convinced abolishing the terms 'QA' and 'tester' is the right approach." He comments on different skills in a way that reminds me of Bret's paper 'Testers and Developers Think Differently'.

I think there's a sea change going on. In many companies, the time of unthinkingly "throwing it over the wall to the testing team" is coming to an end. That was an expression of cultural assumptions:

  • that business relationships, indeed all relationships, should be assumed to be corrupt. (Well, sometimes they are.)

  • that a job is best done one thing at a time. First you build the car, then you check the car, then you fix the car: the so-called "scrap and rework" assembly line. That's unpopular in this day of lean manufacturing, but there's also something to it. See what Esther Derby writes on multitasking. Frequent context switching poses a risk to flow.

  • that people cannot be adequately self-critical. In testing, this view was made part of the lore by the seminal Art of Software Testing. By this view, a close relationship between testers and programmers will, though groupthink, mean that weaknesses aren't probed. (The same would be true of a close relationship between a customer representative and the development team.) See also critiques of the performance of "embedded reporters" in the recent war.

  • that specialists trump generalists every time.

I want to throw out those assumptions. I've long believed in tight working relationships between testers and programmers. And yet... whatever we do also has to accommodate the exceptions to our desires. We will learn a lot in the next few years about balancing these forces (groupthink vs. teamwork in agile projects, etc.). It's an important conversation, and I look forward to experience reports from Mike and Greg and others.

## Posted at 08:52 in category /testing [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




Agile Testing Directions
Tests and examples
Technology-facing programmer support
Business-facing team support
Business-facing product critiques
Technology-facing product critiques
Testers on agile projects

Permalink to this list


Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
  2. A test should deduce its setup path
  3. Convert the suite one failure at a time
  4. You should be able to get to any page in one step
  5. Extract fast tests about single pages
  6. Link checking without clicking on links
  7. Workflow tests remain GUI tests
Permalink to this list


Design-Driven Test-Driven Design
Creating a test
Making it (barely) run
Views and presenters appear
Hooking up the real GUI


Popular Articles
A roadmap for testing on an agile project: When consulting on testing in Agile projects, I like to call this plan "what I'm biased toward."

Tacit knowledge: Experts often have no theory of their work. They simply perform skillfully.

Process and personality: Every article on methodology implicitly begins "Let's talk about me."


Related Weblogs

Wayne Allen
James Bach
Laurent Bossavit
William Caputo
Mike Clark
Rachel Davies
Esther Derby
Michael Feathers
Developer Testing
Chad Fowler
Martin Fowler
Alan Francis
Elisabeth Hendrickson
Grig Gheorghiu
Andy Hunt
Ben Hyde
Ron Jeffries
Jonathan Kohl
Dave Liebreich
Jeff Patton
Bret Pettichord
Hiring Johanna Rothman
Managing Johanna Rothman
Kevin Rutherford
Christian Sepulveda
James Shore
Jeff Sutherland
Pragmatic Dave Thomas
Glenn Vanderburg
Greg Vaughn
Eugene Wallingford
Jim Weirich


Where to Find Me

Software Practice Advancement


All of 2006
All of 2005
All of 2004
All of 2003



Agile Alliance Logo