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On Testing and Wars of Religion (Rhythm of Testing)

On April 18, 2014, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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I’m sitting in my rocker with a nice glass of wine next to me.  Today is Friday, the 18th of April, 2014.  In Western Christian Religious calendars today is Good Friday.  It is also the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord which Americans may remember as the beginning of the American War of Independence.  Paul Revere and several others had made their midnight ride the night before.  Alas, that is another story.

The determination of how the date for Easter was to be calculated was one of the early points of contention in the Western Christian tradition.  This is an interesting point. Keep that in mind.

The granddaughter in high school had school today.  The interesting thing is that she goes to a “Christian” school.  My lady-wife found it interesting that she had school on a day of such significance in the Christian religious calendar.  I smiled and gently said “It is because of the type of Christian the school is intended to educate.”

We talked on this a bit.  Simply put, I had many conversations with people of this particular sect of Christianity.  When I was young, they were the majority if kids in the neighborhood.  There was one family who were Greek Orthodox, one family around the corner who were Jewish my family and then several families of this sect.  I smiled because I remember so many times being told “You’re nice and your family is nice but you’re still going to Hell when you die.”

OK, so consider being 11 or so and being told you would go to Hell when you died because of the way you and your family go to church.

I remember asking my mother on what was going on.  Her response was something to the effect of “They can’t imagine being wrong in anything, and since we go to a different church, we must be the ones who are wrong and that means we are going to Hell.”

These conversations, so many years apart, have left me thinking this evening and finding the similarities with conversations I have had with certain testers to be notable and quite disheartening.

Testing Must…

Simply put, I have been given a list of items which “Testers Must…” do if they are “really” testers.  These seem to fall under one of several forms of fallacy.  This is generally expressed as “No real <blah> would ever <do thing>.”

One item commonly mentioned – Testers Must Verify Requirements.

Really?  Must?  In every circumstance?  If Tester 1 verifies requirements and does that in a day or so, what am I to do? 

I understand that when the contract says you must “provide traceability between tests and requirements” that you need to be able to do this.  Is there one and only one way to document tests and show traceability?

If there is one and only one way to document tests does this imply that any other way to document tests is wrong?

If it is wrong is it bad?  If tests are wrong as they are documented, how can we execute them and be certain that we are doing things right?

What if we are not wrong?

Does this mean we are right?

When we are challenged in our beliefs about testing, do we respond as 11 year old children or do we respond as thinking, mature adults?

What must testing do?  Are we certain?  Do we agree on this?

Based on conversations I recently had and articles I recently read, I am certain we do not agree.  When people condemn others for not agreeing with them, I get a little sad.  When I am condemned for not agreeing with them, I ask “What is it that makes you certain you are correct?”

I find that question to be challenging for people to answer.

If people can not logically explain why they believe things they believe about testing and they can not logically discuss the implications, the result sounds much like the wars of religion from 400 years ago.

Of course, in smaller ways, those wars continued through my youth.  In some places they continue.  Likewise, the wars, and condemnation about doing testing “differently” also continue.

 

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