In response to my essay about the testing team's motto, James Bach replied:
How about "We hold the flashlight" as a motto?
We can work with this:
- you have to turn the flashlight on, or it's not much good.
- you have to point it in the right direction.
- if you shine it in people's eyes, you're not helping.
- if you pull it out at the last minute, you invariably find that the batteries are dead.
- a desperate need for a flashlight is often a sign of poor preparation...
- ... or (when hiking) of not having enough sense to stop in time.
Not sure how "the big heavy ones make handy clubs" fits in.
James Bach replied:
Overreliance on a flashlight spoils night vision. (atrophy of defensive programming skills) Narrow beams help you see farther, but not more. Wide beams help you see more, but not as far. It's not as helpful if you only point it where you've already been (regression testing). Some bugs avoid light. Sometime you need to use fluorescent light, or an infrared scope, in order to spot problems.
James Tierney added:
- Multiple flashlights (with varying beam widths) can help you uncover more than a single, powerful light.
- But if the beam does not have a minimum amount of power, it is not helpful.
- If the bugs have reflectors (i.e. testability hooks and assertions per Maguire's Writing Solid Code) they are easier to find.
Tom Ostrand shed more light:
- Fresh batteries are periodically needed (perspective of new testers is always useful)
- Rechargeable batteries are more cost-effective (experienced testers are very valuable)
- Eventually, even rechargeable batteries wear out (don't stay in testing your entire career)
- You can see better with two lights, held at different angles (don't rely on a single testing method)
And James Bach had the last word:
- strobe lights are helpful, but the information revealed is quickly out of date.