Session: The Forensics of Testing

Through the years, we have witnessed an amazing evolution in crime tv shows. Originally, these shows would give details of crimes similar to a news report. Crime shows today will set the tone early. They give hints of the storyline to the viewer. They open with video clips of their discussions with victims and key players. They give a glimpse of crime scenes and “just enough” details to make the viewer want to watch the entire episode. However, deception is the drug they are selling. When you start the episode, you begin to build your initial understanding. You draw conclusions about the situation, who is guilty, and who is innocent. You establish your view of the big picture. By the end of the show, you are often surprised when you find that the actual scene of the crime and the guilty party may be different than what you originally expected. The most compelling lesson to be learned by avid crime show watchers is to never trust anything at face value. Never trust things that look so obvious. And most importantly, cross examine all of the evidence data, look at the data from various angles, and take decisions based on how the clues work together.

In testing, we are the team’s version of “investigative reporters”. Good testers always investigate the facts, document findings, compare the notes, and make educated decisions to determine the true story for the system under test. Crime scene investigators have DNA, fingerprints, security cameras, and other evidence. Similarly, testers have a wide range of tools to investigate the “scene” as well, such as: observability, testability, accessibility, performance, security, TDD, BDD, and other tools. Testers must be constantly accumulating facts and findings, evaluating the results of those findings, and taking decisions which are thoroughly walked through. As testers, we must learn that “HOW” we use the data is much more critical than “WHAT” data we have regarding the product.

In this presentation, we will put the role of the tester under the microscope and discuss how that testers can learn from the research and work that criminal investigators do today, how to use hard facts, as well as hidden facts, to determine a trustworthy conclusion.

In this presentation, the audience will gain the following takeaways:

  • Evaluation of how the lifecycle of crime shows can be very comparable to testing lifecycles.
  • Lessons which can be learned from crime investigations which can be used in testing.
  • Building your own “investigative data” as part of your testing approach.
  • Approaches each tester can use to compile, evaluate, and take decisions on the product.

90-Minute Session Strategy
Location: TBD Date: July 28, 2021 Time: - Mike Lyles - Mile High Testing Mike Lyles