Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Testers get lost too

A little experience I had the other night that you may (or may not) find interesting.
I was walking to my Sister-in-law's from work and came across a schools soccer match at the local park. Being a soccer fan, I naturally stopped and watched along. Being a true fan of the fine arts of football; the skill, flair, sublime passing, vision and will to win, I was immediately drawn back to my own youth when we raced out to the local park and played for hours. In all this time, we attempted to do things that you wouldn’t see in a modern day top class league. Things like trying the unexpected, dribbling forever, shooting from unique angles, everything you wouldn’t see nowadays. In a way, it was the innocence and impotence of youth; a carefree and unabandoned attitude. I liken this to the modern day true tester who sees testing as a journey, a learning experience and not a job.
What I saw that evening was everything that wasn’t the wild freedom of youth but a tightly constrained, follow the rules, process driven, shackled attitude that prevented these young fellas from expressing themselves. There were constant kicking without looking, long balls, no flair or imagination, nothing that could be deemed enjoyable or 'easy on the eye'. In essence, they were ‘over coached’, if you like, they were given ‘certifications’ in todays testing parlance. ‘Follow the rules and you will be accepted and go further’.

I walked on home and immediately drew comparisons with the scene I had just witnessed and the testing community today. Those kids were like testers who start out with, or have, the correct attitude to testing and see it as fun, exploring, looking for things not thought of, improving. However, somewhere along the line, the kids, like the testers, fell in with 'coaches' who coached the carefree and ‘want to explore’ out of them. In the testing world, the 'coaches' are the managers or the 'ISEB clones' who have kidnapped or brain washed these testers with ability and skill and mis-directed them with tales of certification, industry acceptance and make your cv/resume look good!

Good and conscientous testers, testers who see their job as a continual learning experience, who are never satisfied, who are looking for better, are not constrained, are not shackled, do not need certifications and are essentially like the carefree kids playing football back in my day. Those testers need salvation and need to read blogs from testing lights to see there are other ways than the ‘official coaching’.
To become a great footballer, you do not need a badge or certificate. You need ability, desire, the want. All the great footballers of today and yesteryear had these traits in abundance.
Testers, look at the great testers in the world today, the likes of Kaner, Bach, Weinberg, Bolton. Then ask yourself 2 things:-
  • Does the above paragraph sound familiar??
  • What road do you wish to go down?