Blog vs. Conversation: Please Ask Me About Testing

I’ve realized that I’ve got a couple of problems with blogging regularly. Maybe you can help me to do something about it.

The first issue is that I don’t really like to publish unpolished material in a blog. The draft mechanism handles that, to some degree. I have less of a problem with that if there’s a strong sense of mission about the material that I’m publishing–so writing magazine articles under contract and deadlines, with help from reviewers and editors, is a little easier for me.

A bigger problem is that I seem to have trouble getting traction if I’m not writing in response to something specific. If I’m merely musing or journaling, I have a lot less motivation than if I’m answering a question.

Johanna Rothman suggested to me at one point that Myers-Briggs Es (the extraverts) sometimes have a hard time with writing things that they’ve already said. Once it’s out, it’s out, and our temperaments incline us not to repeat ourselves. Or perhaps, more accurately, we Es don’t like talking without a live audience with whom we can engage, where the Is (introverts) can live and even thrive without that form of feedback. In the mailing lists, people ask plenty of questions that engage me, and I’m energized to answer them. So another way I might address this issue is that I might take questions that I’ve been answering in the mailing list, or in Agile Testing, and either link to them or reproduce the salient points here.

James Bach had the most interesting approach to solving this problem, so I’m extending the same invitation as he did: please ask me a question via email, and I’ll answer it in a blog entry. (I’m happy to answer questions even if you’d like to remain anonymous.) That allows us to have a conversation, instead of me feeling like I’m merely spouting–and maybe we can solve some problems together along the way.

2 replies to “Blog vs. Conversation: Please Ask Me About Testing”

  1. Few questions from my side:

    1. How do you stay focused as a context driven “thinking tester” in a “hostile” world that constantly undermines the need for thinking in testing? How do you balance the business and thinking part of testing ?

    2. How do “fight” the notions like Testing as “repeatable Engg process (metrics, Estimation issues, productivity, continuour improvement, showing value of testing etc)” – A dominant belief in IT services scenario especially in india

    3. “Software testing in IT business today – requires predictibility and consistency” remarked an influencial head of a Testing practice of an IT services company. How do we get there? Should we get there?

    4. What part of overall testing that we do falls in following category, in your opinion?
    – Mundane and repeatative
    – Does not require any thinking
    – test cases with clear steps and oracles
    Consider a typical IT application portfolio.

    This question can be tied to automation. What percentage of your testing can be automated (by ignoring side effects – not observing things that a human might notice) without considering technical feasibility. In my view it is about 5-10%. So the maximum limit what you could automate is only that much right?


  2. Hello Michael. One thing that I have been doing a bit of lately is to try to frame my email replies to be complete, then blog “I just posted this on the SW-IMPROVE list”, or “I just posted this on the agile-testing list.”

    Of course, framing the email to be complete can be hard, especially in the midst of a conversation.

    It generates blog posts and may refer a few people to join the list as well. 🙂

    (Hey, check your emails; I sent you a note about GLSEC)


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