Monday, March 16, 2009

All those fine test methods and approaches

There are people who think software testing is easy. There are testers who claiming to be experts in the testing area. There are companies who believe their tool is the solution for everything. There are program managers who know that mentioning a method in a plan and using templates solve all problems. There are developers who are able to use development methods as they were intended to do.

I cannot not believe we live in a world this beautiful. I'm a tester and somehow I'm an expert. In certain areas in certain conditions I know more about software testing then others. And still I'm eager to learn. This is one of my main goals. I like software testing as an occupation and as a way of thinking.

Only I believe this world is not that beautiful as it is. And we all know it. Most of the people are claiming that their methods, approaches and tools are just the way we have to work and then all problems will be solved. There are testers who work according those methods and are forcing organizations to change otherwise they are not able to do their job. They forgot that a method or approach is just a tool to help and can and should never be used as it is written on paper.

How often did you hear or did you mention that we should do this because it is: ITIL, CMMi, TMMi, Prince2, TMap, ISTQB, Agile, RUP, or whatever method/approach/ best practice? How often did you ask yourselves if it values the method or the organization?

As methods are often models how to handle things. A model is just a representation of the actual world. Models are fallible and therefore methods too. Using those methods as written makes you fallible.

Fortunately, because of human nature we are trying to avoid being fallible and we are striving for success. Preventing fallibility we adapt. We adapt our vision about methods and adjust our approaches. By doing this we have to be aware that we change the chosen methods/approach which supports the organization.

This is what makes software testing interesting for me; finding solutions under given circumstances reflecting against organizational defined methods and models using the boundaries of those methods/approaches/tools/best practices to provide information about risks and benefits for the organization when rules are broken.

Therefore software testing is not easy and we are not experts and there is not one solution. Testing is fun and should be done by people having expertise and gaining knowledge, able to adapt and having the courage to think out of the box, within the context. Testers should use their knowledge about methods etc. to value organizations instead of preaching their knowledge of a method or tool is the best solution.

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