Review: CAST 2011 Promo #2

Posted by Albert Gareev on Feb 19, 2015 | Categories: Mind MapsNotesReviews



CAST 2011 Promo


Points – Value – Problems

  • It’s philosophy that makes time worth living
  • Efficiency means different things in different contexts
  • The challenge of the hidden picture puzzle
    • Each click is a test
    • How much testing do I do before I decide I know what the picture is
  • Explicit Parameters in Testing
    • Coverage
    • Time
    • Outcome
  • Implicit Parameters in Testing
    • Progress
    • Correctness
    • Risks
  • Efficiency and effectiveness mean different things, depending on what you want to achieve and what you care about along the way


  • Structure
    • Entertaining introduction
    • Main content
    • Entertaining conclusion
    • Invitation to CAST 2011
  • Narrative
    • Summary
      • James Bach and Jonathan Bach “escape massive nuclear explosion” and catch an argument on meaning of “efficiency”
      • Description of a testing educational game – hidden picture puzzle
      • Examples of different gaming styles with analysis and commentary
      • Making point about meaning in the context
      • Invitation to the conference
    • Highly professional narrative in the main content
  • Addressing
    • Audience: testers and other IT folks who like to do the job thoughtfully
    • Addresses in a thought-provoking manner
    • Aims at a highly relevant problem
  • Consistency
    • The video is highly aligned with the title and the purpose
    • Elements of “acting” in the entertainment parts
    • Professional, well-structured, well-paced video and speech
  • Keywords
    • The video operates highly relevant testing and test management keywords
    • No jargon, the video could be easily understood by a general English speaking audience

Comment – Argue – Acknowledge

  • Hidden picture puzzle is a reversed analogy of testing
    • Product picture – explicit and tacit models – is generally known; with puzzle it is unknown
    • Product testing uncovers problems in seemingly known picture, bugs are subjective, decision rules are heuristics; puzzle exercise uncovers picture itself, not bugs, and decision rule is literally black-white.
  • Test is a discovery of information
    • Depending of the actual test, it takes different time, skills, and means
    • It also takes a skill to decide what tests to perform
    • Value of information discovered may vary from critically important to useless
      • It also might be too late to know
    • Tests that confirm known information add very little value
  • I’m not sure I agree with the statement that Michael Bolton took a lot of risk
    • The goal was achieved – picture was uncovered and read correctly
    • Uncovering any more pixels (i.e. doing any more tests) in the given situation wouldn’t have added new information
    • Risks are not equal. Saying “took a lot of risks” when what are the risks is not defined makes little sense
      • Not testing product on officially unsupported browser version – is it “taking risks” or assessing risks and making conscious and justified decision not to test?
  • The graph presented in the video, frames “High Coverage – Little Time” testing style very attractively
    • I think, it’s a problem, because it misrepresents testing – it misses costs, and equates slapdash clicking with testing
  • How can “High Coverage – Little Time” be achieved?
    • Have more testers discovering information in parallel
      • More staff – higher costs
    • Have programmers dedicating part of their time to testing
      • Less programming done + switching costs
    • Increase efficiency of testing, remove obstacles and reduce bureaucracy
      • Easier said than done. Such a change can’t happen overnight
    • Downgrade testing to checking and automate it
      • Value of information is downgraded
      • More risks
      • Has investment and maintenance cost demands
  • Acknowledgement – even though I put a number of arguments from my side:
    • It was a really fresh and unexpected idea to model testing in such way, and to turn it into hands-on / minds-on educational exercise!
    • My main takeaway is about being explicit when considering these factors in my test strategy, making sure to discuss them with the stakeholders
    • The video itself is a long standing asset. I’ve used it for training sessions with my team and as a ground for time-coverage discussion with management.
      • Actually, that’s how I discovered the problem I mentioned above.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work by Albert Gareev is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.