Testing is Socially Challenging

This post has been brewing for a while, but a LinkedIn conversation today reminded me to put it in the bottle and ship it. Testing is socially challenging. There’s a double meaning there. One meaning is that testing involves challenging the product and our beliefs about it, in a social context. The other meaning is that probing the product and people’s beliefs about it can sometimes be uncomfortable for everyone … Read more

Oracle Heuristic: Consistency Within the Product

Today brings an example of applying of the *consistency within the product* oracle heuristic. (You can read more about that here and here For reasons known only to the gods, when I visit AirBnB today, it insists on quoting all prices in Chilean pesos (CLP). At today’s rates, the Chilean peso is roughly 600 to the Canadian dollar, so a property that might cost CAD200 per night displays as … Read more

Learning from Little Bugs

I was investigating some oddness in Google Search today. Perhaps I’ll write about that later. But for now, here’s something I stumbled upon as I was evaluating one of the search results. Is this a problem? I think the developers of this site mean to say “Free delivery in the GTA for orders over $99″. (The GTA is the Greater Toronto Area.) Next question: is this a big problem? Will … Read more

When Are Problems Introduced?

If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. Confucius, Analects There are lots of problems in software development, but one of the bigger ones is muddled process talk that leads to muddled process thinking. An email arrived in my inbox, touting an article titled The Shift-Left Approach to Software Testing. As it turns out, the article was written it 2018, and the source … Read more

On the Normalization of Deviance

Last night, my wife was out on an errand in our car. She parked it, entered the store, and came out again. She tried to start the car. It wouldn’t start. She called home to consult with me. We tried a couple of things over the phone. We considered a couple of possible problems. From what I could tell, the starter motor wasn’t engaging. Not exactly a surprise, because I … Read more

Why Test Automation Projects Fail (and How We Might Succeed)

Every fifteen minutes or so, in testing blogs, on LinkedIn, at conferences, or on the job, someone raises the question of “why test automation projects fail”. Perhaps the question keeps coming up because there are so many failure modes, and so many possible answers. Here’s one answer, though: “test automation projects” are software development projects, and all software development projects are vulnerable to failure. One of the bigger and more … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (37): “Testing slows down the project.”

I’ve had a long career in this silly business. All the way along, one of the sillier things that people have said is this: “Testing slows down the project.” This is roughly equivalent to saying that looking out the windshield and attending to the dashboard slows down the journey. Sometimes people say that discovering problems slows down the project, but that’s not true either. Discovering problems can dispel the illusion … Read more

Just Another Day at the Computer (3)

An online chat with a coaching student. I want to set up a Zoom meeting with her tomorrow. At some point during the last couple of days, there was a new version of the Zoom plugin for Outlook. Maybe there was a new version of Outlook, too; I’m not sure. But in any case…

You’ve “Built Quality In”. Are You Sure About That?

It’s common these days to hear people say that they don’t want to focus on finding bugs; they want to focus on preventing bugs. They want to focus on “building quality in”. Let’s face it: building quality in is a pretty great idea, and preventing bugs from reaching customers is a really good thing. On this, reasonable people agree. To prevent bugs from reaching customers, you’ll have to become a … Read more

Just Another Day at the Computer (2)

On my iPad, I’m reading a discussion on LinkedIn. A reply piques my interest, and I want to alert a colleague to it. I tap on the dots in the upper right. The options offered are are “Message (the author of the reply)”, “Share via…”, and “Report”. I tap on “Share via…” Nothing happens. I move to my computer, and go to the same reply. The three dots in the … Read more