Friday, April 23, 2010

This sounds like testing

Previously compared
This week I already made a posting with a relation between music and testing Patterns in music and software testing. In that post I tried to link it to the way we try to value music towards testing based on identification of certain patterns.

Today I drove in my car to work, normally I listen to the programs on the radio, this time I shared that time. I listened to the radio and again to the band Conorach.

Previously I tried to compare the music with other artist I know. As already spoken I noticed there were some patterns I recognized in the music and based on those I compared it with the others. This time I made also a comparison within the music.

Comparing with numbers
It starts with identification of patterns. If you are aware of patterns you are willing to look at it in different ways. Instead of trusting the known approaches you can search for other relationships.
I think there are certain steps you can make. I'm sure there are books which explain this better than I will do know. Only, books are not available yet/now when the mind is throwing ideas :)

You can listen to music in different ways. Your perception will be defined based on who, how, when, what, why you will listen the music. Are you listening a song you already heard about, listening the whole CD or is it live? Are you in a good mood which fit the music or artist? Do you want to listen since you need to recover from an exhausting testing session? Or, do you need to energy to start with it?
You can listen in different ways, focus might shift/change.

When I was driving in my car I shifted to focus from comparing the music and certain pieces with other artist towards comparing parts between the songs on de CD.

Seems in songs you can use other artists as Oracles, you can also use the songs of that artist as an Oracle. This sounds familiar, don't you think.

Comparing with testing
Imagine you replace artist with system and you replace songs with functionality. This gives the following sentence: "Seems in functionality you can use other systems as Oracles, you can also use the functionality of that system as an Oracle."

To me it seems that music can be used well defining approaches for testing. Perhaps even better then the traditional methods. Ouch, now I might be walking on thin ice. It is not that I am against the traditional project or test methods/approaches. I only experienced too often that maintaining the arguments for using methods is the goal instead of the goal you start using those methods. For me it always helped to change the glasses I was looking to. I tried to look at projects/systems with other point of views. This is necessary as systems are built for humans and organisations. They are also different which result in differences in perception.
Differences in perception is a strength
Music is also different, we all experience songs, music, tunes different, people are different. This leads that perception of music is different. Still we are able to value them within a short period. Some will like the music and some will not. If people have to listen together to music then often is avoided to play music only a small group likes. Imagine you are at work and you play your song and only you like it. Your colleagues might get annoyed by that tune (they wont call if music). This will lead in irritation, lesser performance by them, focus on wrong things. A solution for this is a mutual understanding and knowing that the optimal situation per individual is not obtainable. You have to define a common goal.
Define a common goal
To define a common goal you can use heuristics for it or perhaps use the quality attributes mentioned in ISO-9126. Perhaps this works out. The danger I see is that again best practices become leading instead of first thinking which best practice is the most valuable here. Also, is there a need to learn more best practices first. Learning from music might be a good way.

If a human being is able to value it using their mind and willing to learn from it. Why not use music as a metaphor to help testing software. If people on a work floor can come together about music then it must be valuable to use it also coming together about using systems.

Some instruments are easy to play, especially by experienced people. Some words are better to sing and understand. There might be differences in keeping the tune right. Some can some won't. Compare the guitar sound between songs, artist and time. Even an artist is growing in a direction.
Music is the way
What I'm trying to say is that it might be good if you are following traditional steps to make other moves and learning from music might be such a move. I challenge you to keep learning from situations and don't be distracted by ideas from others like methods etc. Try to listen to the music of the artist I started with: Conorach. I'm curious what you can learn from it. And how you learn from it.

I noticed some riffs from Joe Sattrianni, tunes from the Dubbliners, voices from The Nits, Iron Maiden is also involved and somehow the quietness of Pink Floyd and the piece of Bach. I also noticed other artists I forgot the name. If I try, I can find other songs which seem a bit similar.
I noticed that in a system functionality can be pointed to instruments, some are solid and some are fragile. Some are nice and some are fast. Some are played from paper and some jamming.
If we can come together valuing music would it be able to come together on testing? Accepting the differences in methods/approaches/systems/people?

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