Testing. Checking. Inspection. Exploration. Learning. Everybody has a different understanding of what testing is. And is not. (Hint: AFAIC, it’s NOT “QA”. And it’s NOT “TDD”).
I’m not going to upset people by offering my own definition. I make no claims to be an expert on testing.
When I’m a customer, I know I don’t want to pay extra just for a product that works as advertised. By extension, I’d not want to pay for testing. I want a product that “just works”. And if asked to pay more, I’d have to enquire skeptically “why can’t you people build it right in the first place?”.
Some years ago now, David Anderson wrote a blog post asserting that “All testing is waste”. I concur. But is it necessary or unnecessary waste (Type I or Type 2 Muda?). And does that categorisation depend on the capabilities of the team(s) – the developers – building the software? If the developers can’t deliver software with the intended levels of defects (which could be non-zero, btw) then maybe testing is a necessary waste, to compensate for that inability. And maybe it’s cheaper and more humane to employ less capable developers, bolstered by testers, than to have capable developers who can meet intended defect levels reliably.
So, do we have to test, despite the customer being unkeen to pay for it? Despite it adding little or no value from the customer’s point of view? Or can we find other, more economic and humane ways to meet the needs testing currently addresses?
“Testing” is one strategy for getting folks’ needs met. Some of their needs, at least. We might imagine there could be other strategies for getting those same needs met.
What needs does testing address? And who has these needs?
- Testers need to continue earning a living in their chosen profession, to feel belonging in a community, to earn the respect of their peers for a job well done, to continue their self-development and learning, to add value and make a difference.
- Customers need stuff that works (that meets their needs), for a price they’re willing to pay.
- Companies making stuff need to safeguard their reputations and revenues.
- Managers generally need to appear capable of delivering new products which meet the company’s and customers’ needs, whilst also controlling margins (costs vs returns).
- And of course every individual may have their own particular personal needs, too.
My question is: “Is testing the best strategy for meeting all the above needs?”. It may be the best known. The most widespread. The default. But is it the most economic? The most humane? Indeed, what are the dimensions of “best” here? Or even of “reasonably effective”?
“No Testing” attempts to flag up these questions. No soapbox. Just open enquiry.