Thursday, June 4, 2009

Collecting evidence

Sometimes it seems testers are just young children, they also want to collect everything, although the reasons are sometimes different.
I can imagine that you, reader, also store your test data for some reason.

Perhaps you can compare it with collecting soccer cards, football card, baseball cards, stamps or what ever. Collecting those items can make you unique; it can give you some additional value. Perhaps you can get money out of it.
Is this the same with test data? Are you just collecting to tell the manager how good you are; how you managed to have everything under control? Or are you collecting to be used as evidence.

Using it as evidence can only help when it is too late and what sense does it make then? Will it help the customer? Perhaps you should ask yourselves in front what to preserve, for what reasons and for how long.

Imagine we define a lifecycle for test data.
We all know these actions:
- preparing
- using
- collecting
- storing
- preserving

What about: destructing?
The initial actions are mostly within a projects lifetime. Destructing should be done when it is no longer necessary. What would you say to start the destruction phase of one project, just after ending the next? This might trigger us to think about what we need to preserve instead saving everything. And it also minimizes the frustration of not finding old data as it is no longer there.

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