Testing is just a laborious pain in the rear

I thoroughly enjoyed Karen Greave’s talk on Agile Testing.  She had just about 100% coverage (pun intended, groan).  Yet, testing is really a pain in the rear.  Testing is execution, and Karen was dead-on right, that automation is the path to follow.  Computers are very good at testing.  A computer does what it is programmed to do, and it can test the way it was programmed to test.  It’s simple: if testing is your constraint, move that constraint away from testing by automating.

Now, you have to deal with the constraint that shifted to the next point: test authoring.  While testing (i.e. execution) is just a passive, laborious effort, test authoring is a very creative, active exercise.  It is actually an exercise in confirming a shared, common understanding.  Kristin Nygard said “To program is to understand” and test authoring is a programming exercise.  That’s why outside-in, behavior driven development style scenarios are actually tests, coded in a human language.  The act of authoring a scenario proves your understanding and the expected working of the software.

This is why I separate test execution (passive) from test authoring (active).  And Karen said that early feedback is good (right again), which is why I author my tests very early.  I’m extreme about this.  I test first.

3 thoughts on “Testing is just a laborious pain in the rear

  1. Glad you enjoyed the talk. I’ve never used the word test authoring before, but I like it. It implies that creatively is involved, which I believe is true. I think if more testers understood that their roles are about authoring rather than execution we would be much better off.

  2. I concur, being extreme on this one pays off.
    The upfront authoring of scenarios is the “confirmation” of the card, conversation, confirmation cycle. Without testable requirements, everyone can and does confabulate, leading to different expectations.
    In my experience these changes to expectations are the root cause of many dev/test frictions, and if they’re all aligned, the stress dissolves.
    “Testing is a pain in the rear, so do it upfront!” 🙂

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