Thought Roundup: Meh-trics, NASA, Noticing and "I am a Dog"

“…Creating better software”

QASymphony was at CAST 2014 in NYC — and one thing you can always count on — CAST will be full of interesting debates. Below are a few of the trending topics I heard while I was there. I’m interested to know what you think.

Meh-trics? Feeling that the metrics you are using to measure testing and software quality are just “meh.” Traditional methods of measuring software quality and effectiveness of testing include metrics such as “lines of code,” or “number of defects.” But what exactly are these measuring? Quantity or quality? I was impressed by this CAST talk applying lean ideas and metrics to software production; especially interesting is the overview of The Seven Wastes applied to software production (about 14:22).

For more thoughts on realigning your metrics to better fit with Agile development teams check out this Software Testing Help article, 4 Steps Towards Developing the Agile Testing Mindset for Successful Transition to Agile Process.

Can exploratory testing work in highly regulated industries? Griffin Jones and Vu Lam say yes, but caution you have to use the right tools. “Clear, irrefutable evidence, with proven integrity, which is easy to retrieve, takes the sting out of any auditing process. It also encourages a professional and thorough approach to the task at hand.” Get their white paper: Evidence of Testing: What Constitutes Good Evidence. This paper even addresses how exploratory testing can help with compliance in heavily regulated industries where evidence of tests are critical.

Top Tweet: James Christie ‏@james_christie • Aug 15 +1 RT @SQAleadership: Attended a Great Talk on How NASA uses #scrum & Exploratory #testing for Spacecraft #CAST2014 pic.twitter.com/u0Dbeq4wPF

Can automated testing replace manual testing? In his epic blog on whether or not exploratory testing can be automated, Michael Bolton makes a striking case for the importance of humans in testing. Things he lists that can’t be automated: Curiosity. Sapient decision making. Invention. Noticing. Yes, noticing, as in: “James noticed the logs without me telling him about them. Noticing can’t be automated.” The whole blog »

Top Tweet: @g33klady Aug 13: Testing vs checking definitions – testing can’t be automated but checking can @friendlytester #CAST2014 instagram.com/p/rpfbKfAdZi/

Maybe robots and automation will take over the world. Or maybe not. David Brooks sets forth a few thoughts on why it’s still great to be human.

“Any child can say, “I’m a dog” and pretend to be a dog. Computers struggle to come up with the essence of “I” and the essence of “dog,” and they really struggle with coming up with what parts of “I-ness” and “dog-ness” should be usefully blended if you want to pretend to be a dog. This is an important skill because creativity can be described as the ability to grasp the essence of one thing, and then the essence of some very different thing, and smash them together to create some entirely new thing. The rest of the article here »

We’ll be at the Atlassian Summit. Come see us. We’d love to hear how you are using your curiosity and creativity to create better software. We can give you an update on what’s new at QASymphony and a demo of qTest eXplorer, our exploratory testing tool, and qTest our test case management tool.

The QASymphony Team

Upcoming QASymphony Events:
Atlassian Summit, Sept 9 – 11, San Jose
STAC, October 23, Atlanta

e-book: What you need to know about software testing in the Agile Era
QASymphony blog: 3 Reasons Exploratory Testing is Here to Stay

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