Seems To Isn’t Does (Hiccupps)

On November 3, 2011, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

I’ve got a paddock full of hobby horses and I’ll jump onto one at the slightest provocation. One of the sleekest, through constant exercise and a healthy diet of suppressed anger, is the one where somebody tells me that something seems to work. It really gets my goat, to mix ungulate metaphors.

Don’t tell me that it seems to work. “Seems to” isn’t “does”. And in any case “does work” is only an approximation of the kind of answer I’ll want most of the time.

Don’t tell me that it seems to work. What that means to me is that you don’t know whether the thing does what it’s supposed to but you prodded it, probably with noddy data, and the behaviour you observed wasn’t completely contrary to your expectations, such as they were.

Don’t tell me that it seems to work. I’ll just think that you were looking over the developer’s shoulder while they ran through the same single test case they’ve used to develop the fix and even then you were fiddling with your phone.

Don’t tell me that it seems to work. If I even bother to wonder whether you’ve ever seen the product, let alone the bug report that we’re talking about, I’ll assume you haven’t.

Don’t tell me that it seems to work. Just don’t. Never. Unless you’re trying to wind me up. In which case watch out for the hooves.


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