Testing and Model Building

In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb talks about “Platonicity,” which is defined as the desire to cut reality into crisp shapes. This is a form of dividing up a large domain into a smaller domain. This, by definition, means establishing certain boundaries. This is a key part of how people experiment and thus of how they model … and thus of how they ultimately explain things. So let’s talk about what this has to do with testing.

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Levels of Description

I’ve talked about the notion of test description languages quite a bit. A lot of these discussions get into debates about being declarative versus imperative, or focusing on intent rather than implementation. All good things to consider. But such “versus” terminology tends to suggest there is a “right” and a “wrong” when often what you have is “What makes sense in your context.” And you may have to flexibly shift between different description levels. Let’s talk about this.

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Describing My Role

Recently I engaged in a fun exercise with a test team wherein each of us had to answer the following question: How do I describe my role? It’s always interesting to me to see how people answer this, particularly in the fields of testing and quality assurance. So here I’ll provide the answer I gave, along with a bit of context for it.

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