The Dimensionality of Testing

Geometry is about getting from one place to another. It’s about looking at where we are and where we want to be. Or, perhaps, it can look at where we are now and help us backtrack to where we came from. However you use it, geometry takes place over a certain region of space and time. Space and time — whether looked at in the context of cosmology or just on our projects — is all about dimensions. So let’s talk about this a bit.

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Testing Is Like Cartography

What do maps do? Well, let’s think about how they great created. They get created by humans. So maps essentially distill the experience of others for the purpose of helping you understand a particular terrain. Maps help you get from where you are to where you want to go. Maps thus serve as a way to package up a vicarious experience by providing a representation.

Cartographers are people who create maps and it is very much a discipline. Further, it’s a discipline that shares a lot with testing. So let’s talk about that.

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The Shifting Polarities of Testing

Everything we rely on is in the past. Even the very moment of “now” became the past just as you read this. As the future gets here, it becomes the “now” and — you guessed it — moves into the past. So while we may build services and applications for the future, our work immediately becomes part of the load-bearing struts of the past.

This reality, while simplistic sounding, has important ramifications because it means we have to move between polarities.

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The Character of Projects

I was going to title this “The Irrelevance of Agile” but that struck me as an unfair title and not entirely indicative of what I wanted to focus on. Testers will periodically be involved in the “Is Agile Dead?” debate. Or even the “Agile is (Once Again) Dead” debate.

I’ve found these discussions to be an emotive area to wade into so I want to approach this from a different angle. This is me experimenting with thoughts rather than claiming to have any answers, so expect a bit of this to be somewhat muddy as I feel my way forward.

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Testing and the Human Element of History

What an awful blog title, huh? Testing and history? What am I even talking about? And the “human” element of history? As opposed to what? Have you ever seen a blog post that starts with such short sentences ending with question marks? Utterly awful. It’s like splitting infinitives. Or running sentences on and on (and on). Still with me? If so, let’s talk about history. And science. And the human aspect of both.

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Testing Is Like …

I want testers to stop trying to “solve” the problems they’ve allegedly been trying to solve for decades now. I want testers to start looking at testing as a discipline that has a broad-focus, wide-angle lens. I want testing to start solving the real problems, including the ones that it has painted itself into. I want testing to get out of the reductionist and into the ecological. Let’s talk about this a bit.

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Testing Helps Us Understand Physics

In our testing industry we’ve borrowed ideas from the physics realm to provide ourselves some glib phrases. For example, you’ll hear about “Schrödinger tests” and “Heisenbugs.” It’s all in good fun but, in fact, the way that physics developed over time certainly has a great deal of corollaries with our testing discipline. I already wasted people’s precious time talking about what particle physics can teach us about testing. But now I’m going to double down on that, broaden the scope a bit, and look at a wider swath of physics.

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