Friday, February 1, 2008


Recently a non-IT person asked me what my occupation was. Of course I told him proudly that I'm a software tester. His "silent-Nice" answer indicated that he had no idea about my occupation and why it is challenging.

I asked him if he knew the game Shuffleboard. If he played it once and what he remembered of that game. Now I got his attention. He mentioned that he played it while he was young. A typical game on rainy days with family. Trying to get all the shuffles through the 4 holes on equally basis. He also mentioned that they did it for a period and based on the time available the numbers of rounds are are decided. Sometimes they continued until a certain score was reached.

I explained to him that shuffleboard is similar to software testing. Assume that the shuffles are the number of checks you want to execute with the holes as the target. The area behind the holes is the system. And you are playing it with a team. And based on the available time you can try an undefined number of rounds, or as we can say cycles or iterations.

As you play the game you have your own strategy, perhaps first aim on the hole with the numbers 1 and 2. If they are filled enough you continue to raise you score to equalize the same in the holes 3 and 4. You perhaps use the borders of the board to push the shuffles in the correct hole.

The similarity is that a certain strategy can also be defined in testing. You first define what you want to test, when and how.
What: Our target is to find the holes in the system.
When: when the shuffleboard or system is delivered clean.
How: first the important items, then the less important ones, and still obtaining a good coverage.

If time is over you calculate if you met your goal. If you won is the same as a positive advice to go into production. If you loose calculate the risk to continue or not.

You can say that a game of shuffleboard is similar to software testing as we have our strategies, each situation is different and we are aiming for the holes. And we do it as a team.

Though I couldn't convince him to become a tester, he now understands that I like to play shuffleboard.

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