Ur doin it rong

I’d like to offer a bit of advice for everyone in the world (but especially to software testers). In just about every thing you do, every day of your life, it is possible to do something wrong. My challenge to you is to think deeply about how you can do things “right”.

Some examples:

  • If you’re spouse asks “do I look fat|stupid in this”, the wrong answer is almost always yes. This doesn’t mean that answering questions directed by your spouse is wrong, it just means you need to think about the right way to answer this question
  • While driving to work|school|the mall, it is completely possible for you to swerve into oncoming traffic or drive down the sidewalk. However, just because you can do this, doesn’t mean you should, nor does it mean that driving is dangerous and that you shouldn’t do it anymore.
  • Right now, I have the ability to blow away a massive number of important documents (yes, they could be eventually restored from backup, but I could cause big problems). This doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have write access anywhere on the corporate network, it means that I’ve been trusted to do the right thing and that I should honor that trust.

I get annoyed when I see testers dismiss things flippantly because it’s possible to do it wrong (and more annoyed when they choose other stuff to do wrong instead). It’s asinine to call something stupid because you can mess it up by not thinking, yet it seems to be common practice.

So here’s my advice for everyone. Do whatever you want until it doesn’t work for you. Find out what works and doesn’t work by hypothesizing, experimenting and thinking. Reflect on what you observe and how you interpret that observation. Use that knowledge to fuel more hypothesizing and experimenting. If you have to discard an approach based on this process, you did the right thing. If you failed to ask yourself why an approach is or isn’t appropriate to your context, it is you who have failed.

The above paragraph works for testers too.


  1. This is very sensible. I now vote for you for king of the world for one day as it would be a better place if people followed this advice.

    However, there is human nature, and I feel tempted to add “But most software quality metrics that I see suck so bad they are on the boundary of unethical and are an abuse of data so could you make those disappear from software decisions for just one day please?” Anyhow, it was a nice read. I also think if I want the metrics to be better I need to take some action and MAKE better ones and put my effort into explaining why. Otherwise I’m just whining.

    So, if those who are whining about stuff in software instead do it better, show a better way, BE better, then it will make more of an impact than all of the inflammatory and divisive mental flexing perhaps.


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