Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Sat, 20 Sep 2003

Links and quotes

The philosopher Ian Hacking on definitions, in a section called "Don't First Define, Ask for the Point" in his The Social Construction of What? (pp. 5-6):

... Take 'exploitation'. In a recent book about it, Alan Wertheimer does a splendid job of seeking out necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of statements of the form 'A exploits B'. He does not quite succeed, because the point of saying that middle-class couples exploit surrogate mothers, or that colleges exploit their basketball stars on scholarships... is to raise consciousness. The point is less to describe the relation between colleges and stars than to change how we see those relations. This relies not on necessary and sufficient conditions for claims about exploitation, but on fruitful analogies and new perspectives.
In that light, consider definitions of "agile methods", "agile testing", "exploratory testing", "testability", and the like: what's the point of making the definition? What change is the maker trying to encourage?

The Poppendiecks on the construction analogy and lean construction (via Chris Morris):

"What are you doing here?" they asked.

They were construction foremen, superintendents and project managers attending a course in construction planning from the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). Indeed, what was I doing there?

I started to explain: "In software development, we are told we should manage our projects like construction projects, where a building is designed at the start, cost and schedule are predictable, and customers get what they expect."

Silence. "You're kidding, right?" "No, honest, that's what we're told."

Incredulity turns to laughter. The idea that programmers would want to manage projects like the construction industry strikes my classmates as ludicrous.

Malcolm Nicolson and Cathleen McLaughlin, in "Social constructionism and medical sociology: a study of the vascular theory of multiple sclerosis" (Sociology of Health and Illness, Vol. 10 No. 3, 1988, p. 257 [footnote 15]):

In order for technical knowledge to [be given credit] it has to be able to move people as well as things.

Laurent Bossavit on models:

But just because diagrams and models have abstraction in common isn't enough to call diagrams models.

## Posted at 09:58 in category /misc [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
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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
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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."

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


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