Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If you can not beat the paradox then join them

I recently read an article written by Zeger Van Hese, Jun 9, 2007 called: Software Testing: A Profession of Paradoxes? This paper won the Eurostar award for best paper 2007 Although I don't know about the competetitors, I can imagine why he won it. The article explains in easy and general terms about the paradoxes we testers have to deal with.

Some paradoxes are supported with good examples giving me the feeling: "I have been there, I have done that?" I think if you also come in the position to explain to your manager, project leader or wife/husband why you have such an exiting job, you just hand them this paper.

I hoped there was more information available on the Net which teach me how to deal with paradoxes. Or even better: How to beat them.
Though I didn't find my answer, during this search I found this other article The Paradoxes of Change

Some of the expressions mentioned here are worth to think about:

  • "Stick to your knitting"
  • "If it turns out I really have to change, I'll change."
  • "You find your craft by doing the things that are the most difficult."
  • "We must live in the paradox"


  1. Stick to your knitting can be translated in testing terms like: Let me just do my work, you give the code and I'll test. Or, let me just use these techniques as I know these very well.
  2. I'll change might be translated to terms like: Give me my marching order and I will march, any direction you like. If you telling me that we tested enough, finally I will agree.
  3. Doing the most difficult things perhaps represents the idea of helping the organization by honor as there is currently none available and the job has to be done. I will inform you about the risks
  4. We must live is perhaps supporting the idea that we as team might find out difficulties and we as team will challenge them.

What have I learned after reading those articles and writing this post? At least that writing something to combine things explaining those paradoxes without repeating them is hard to do. And also some believe that we testers have to be aware of the existence of those paradoxes. Understand them and most of all, recognize them. And decide for our selves if we keep knitting or join that live with paradoxes.

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