Repeatabiity and Adaptability

Arianna Huffington, on the Daily Show, suggested that one point of the blog was to work out nascent ideas without being overly concerned about completeness. There are a bunch of things that are rattling around at the moment, from all kinds of different sources. One is The Sciences of the Artificial, by Herbert Simon—a book that James Bach has been recommending to me practically forever. I’m finally getting around to … Read more

Goin’ to Carolina

With apologies to James Taylor, I’m going to Carolina, and not merely in my mind. The Triangle Information Systems Quality Association (TISQA) will present Agile Testing In The Carolinas, March 16th and 17th, 2009, at The Friday Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The first day is a day of keynotes, conference sessions, and networking; the second is dedicated to half- and full-day workshops. Featured speakers include Shaun Bradshaw, T.R. Buskirk, … Read more

Meaningful Metrics

Over the years, I can remember working with exactly one organization that used my idea of an excellent approach to software engineering metrics. Their approach was based on several points: In summary, they viewed metrics in the same kind of way as excellent testers view testing: with skepticism (that is, not rejecting belief but rejecting certainty), with open-mindedness, and with awareness of the capacity to be fooled. Their metrics were … Read more

Barber’s Children Now Have Haircuts

For the last five years or so, I’ve been living with my wife, Mary Alton, a talented artist and interface designer. And for the last six years or so, we’ve been waiting for a time when we were both free to start updating the look, feel, and content of my increasingly antique- and clunky-looking Web site (either she’s had too much work with paying clients, or I have… and then … Read more

Metaphor: Silver Bullets

Silver bullets kill the vampires. The problem is not that there are no silver bullets. There are silver bullets—or if there aren’t any, you could make them fairly straightforwardly. The problems are Silver bullets are expensive, especially considering… There are no vampires. In our business, the problems that we have involve regular people, and there’s a long history that shows that bullets of any kind, whether in guns or PowerPoint … Read more

Ideas Around Bug Clusters

My colleague and friend Erik Petersen talks about bug clusters a lot. (I’ll get to discussing Black Swans in this space later, but I’m obliged to point out here that I disagree with Erik; I would argue that neither most bugs nor exploratory testing are black swans as he suggests.) I’ve been wanting to respond to the discussion for a while, and I think enough time has passed that I’m … Read more

Follow-up on EuroSTAR 2008 Presentation

I got some mail in the inbox recently from Qualtech, the organizers EuroSTAR 2008. The message was that Two Futures of Software Testing, one of my presentations, not only won the CapGemini Award for Innovation, but was also the highest-rated track session at the conference. That’s very gratifying; to both the conference participants and Qualtech, thank you for the honour. Qualtech also asked me to write a follow-up piece, which … Read more

The Most Serious Programming Error

Yesterday, Nestor Arellano from ITWorld Canada, an online publication, called me and sent an email, seeking comment on a press release about the Top 25 Programming Errors. I glanced at the list of errors that he had sent me, and it seemed to me that they had missed the most important programming error of all: failing to ask if the program does something useful or valuable, and failing to consider … Read more

What Colour Is Your Box?

At the Software Testing Club, Phil Kirkham asked a question headed “What Colour Tester Are You?” Another totally unscientific survey – how many readers of this site would consider themselves to be black box testers, white box testers or grey box testers ? Or if you are a test manager, what colour testing do the testers you are in charge of do? I whimsically replied, “I deny the existence of … Read more