Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Stagnant Gorilla

I watched an interesting talk from Alan Page that he did at QASIG about Test Innovation.

In the talk he made the point that a tester isn't going to sit in the bathtub like Archimedes and have a Eureka moment and come up with a brand new test idea ( though having a bath or shower is a good place to think ). Or sit under an apple tree like Newton who suddenly ( or not ) discovered gravity when watching an apple fall.

It happens gradually with exposure to other experiences, ideas and thoughts.

Case in point being his presentation itself.
It happened a few weeks ago in Seattle but I was able to sit on my sofa in Grand Rapids, MI and watch and listen.

I can get up in the morning, surf Hacker News and find a post with a great title of Chrome wakes me up in the middle of the night, with monsters - a bug report where after a Windows update in the middle of the night Chrome re-opens its tabs and starts replaying a scary movie.  This gave me ideas for tests, I sent out the link as a Tweet and saw this getting re-tweeted. So lots more testers out there get to see this and add it to their list of test ideas and it ticks away in the back of their brain and possibly creates a new test idea based on that.

All sounds marvellous, all these testers putting their heads together and moving the test world onwards and upwards...

But then Alan posted about his frustrations with the damned dancing gorilla

I also read a blog about problems with test automation, it sounded very familiar to the Test Automation Snake Oil article from James Bach ( the author agreed and added it to the end of his post ). The Snake Oil article is from 1999 - and based on an article from 1996

and then, coincidentally, I read a blog post on The Real Future of Software Testing - he lists some of the advances in s/w testing over the years. Seemed like a pretty sparse list.

So what to think ?
The Internet opens up a world of learning and a chance to exchange ideas and learn from other testers - but if we're just sending each other dancing gorilla videos are we moving on? Do you find the same ideas being rehashed and argued over again and again ? What are you finding that's new out there ?


Paul said...

If the same ideas are being rehashed again and again then that means two things:

• Each idea is new to everyone once; some may be just experiencing it for the first time; others may have seen it ad nauseam

• Those ideas still have currency, if they're still being discussed

A bigger point, and this applies to just about any field of knowledge, is simplu that there's more that's gone before and very little new ground being broken.

All the same, breakthroughs will come.

Michael Bolton said...

Knowledge (in any domain) is not merely created, gathered and disseminated. It is developed. Repetition, re-evaluation, the march of time, refinement, the discovery of new ideas, the flash of insight, "the click moment"—all of these are relative to people and communities and events and cultures and...

Knowledge construction is a set of loops, a tangled ball of strings. It's certainly not a line, it's constantly in motion, and we all see it from different angles.