What Can Politics Teach Us About Testing?

In the United States we are currently going through one of our normal rounds of political craziness as we move towards a new election. This is not a political blog and I don’t want to add to the crazy. Thus this post will not discuss current political viewpoints, whether for or against, and will have nothing to do with current candidates. Rather this post will discuss one specific aspect of politics that has a historical context that relates to how our testing industry has evolved and continues to evolve.

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The Challenge of Testing

Awhile back I talked about what makes testing complicated. To be honest, that post is embarrassingly written as I look back on it. That said, I think there is some value in what it says. But to show how my thinking has refined, as well as become a bit more operational, let’s piggy-back on my previous “code as specification” posts and look at why testing is challenging.

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Driving Design with Code as Specification

This post follows on from my code is a specification. I highly recommend reading that post to get the context because here I’m going to add a bit to the sample code from that post. This is being done to illustrate the idea of test code and production code working together to act as an executable specification. Here I’m going to focus a bit on how this has relevance to the business as well.

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The Use of Tradition and Dogma in Testing

It’s become tradition — with a bit of dogma — to point to triangles and quadrants to “explain” things about testing and development. A good case in point is presented in the article Agile Testing Automation. My goal is not to critique the article but rather to use it to highlight what I see as some of the problem. So let’s subject tradition to some rational inquiry and let’s subject dogma to a bit of scrutiny.

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