Monday, June 18, 2007

Software Testing Lessons from my Children

My most recent column has just been posted on TechTarget in which I discuss some of the lessons I‘ve learned from my children about software testing.
I had planned an entirely different topic for this month, but I‘m sitting down to write this on Father‘s Day while my sons (Nicholas, age 8, and Taylor, age 4) are napping, and realizing that I‘ve never written about what I have learned about testing from my boys.
Before I share some of these lessons, let me first share a little about me and fatherhood. For all of the dedication, time, and passion I give to my career, it is not even comparable to the dedication, time. and passion I give to my boys. For example, I stopped consulting for a while so I could see my boys every day when they were young because I couldn‘t stand the thought of being on the road for their first steps, new words, and all of the other developmental wonders that occur on almost a daily basis during the first several years of life. When I went back to consulting, I started my own company—not because I wanted to run a company, but because I didn‘t want to have to answer to anyone else when I chose to not travel during baseball season so I could coach my son’s team. In the same spirit, when I work from home, I frequently do so in a room with my boys, who are naturally curious about what I‘m doing. Over the past few years of this, I’ve learned a lot of things about being a good tester from them. Some of the most significant are these:
    • Don‘t be afraid to ask "Why?"
    • Exploratory play is learning
    • Recording your testing is invaluable
    • "Intuitive" means different things to different people
    • Fast enough depends on the user
    • You can never tell what a user may try to do with your software
    • Sometimes the most valuable thing you can do is take a break
See the column for more behind the lessons
Scott Barber
Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, and How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
     you will find it in your life."

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