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Showing posts from March, 2018

Testing For Me

I spoke at UKSTAR 2018 this week, an eight-minute talk in a Storytelling track. This post is a prettied-up version of the notes I made for it along with some of the slides. The full slide deck is in the Media page . My story is called The Anatomy of a Definition of Testing. It's not a suspense story though, so I'll give you the definition right up front: Testing is the pursuit of relevant incongruity. That is, for me, testing is the pursuit of relevant incongruity. But how did I get there? Well, the journey started with Explore It! by Elisabeth Hendrickson, a great book about exploratory testing which has, near the beginning, this definition: Tested = Checked + Explored It's finessed a little by Neither checking nor exploring is sufficient on its own and the idea that testing is to ... interact with the software or system, observe its actual behavior, and compare that to your expectations. Interestingly, the definition doesn't really play a sig

Pen and Storyteller

The latest in my occasional series of experiments in sketchnoting , this time from UKSTAR 2018 . The sketchnote/video thing I did as a promo for my own storytelling talk is still available here . 

Decision By Precision?

I2E, the flagship product at Linguamatics , is a text mining engine and so sits in the broad space of search tools such as grep , Ctrl-F , and even Google. In that world, evaluating "how good" or "how relevant", or the "correctness" of a set of search results is interesting for a number of reasons, including: it may be hard to define what those terms mean, in general cases. it may be possible to calculate some kind of metric on well-understood, small, data sets but less so at scale.  it may be possible to calculate some kind of metric for simple searches, but less so for complex ones. on different occasions the person searching may have different intent and needs from the same search. But today we'll concentrate on two standard metrics that can be easily defined and which have agreed definitions: precision (roughly "how useful the search results are")  and recall (roughly "how complete the results are"). Imagine we wan

Better Averse?

What is testing? In one of the sessions at the Cambridge Software Testing Clinic  the other night, the whole group collaborated on a mind map on that very question. I find it interesting how the mind can latch on to one small aspect of a thing. I attend these kinds of events to find something new, perhaps a new idea, a different perspective on something I already know, or something about the way I act. In this case, under a node labelled mindset , one of the participants proposed risk-averse . I challenged that, and counter-proposed risk-aware . You can see them both on the map on this page, centre-left, near the bottom. And that's the thing I've been coming back to since: accepting that there is a testing mindset (with all the sociological and semantic challenges that might have) is it reasonable to say that it includes risk aversion or risk awareness? Let's start here: why did I challenge? I challenged because the interpretation that I took in the moment was tha