February TASSQ Meeting: What Dr. Seuss taught me about software testing

My apologies for the delay in getting this posted. I had a good part of it written, but struggled a bit with wrapping it up. After leaving it for a few days, writing the ending for this entry was much easier.

For those who may not know, I recently changed positions from Tech Support at one company, to Software Testing in another. I must admit, testing wasn’t something I was actively looking to as a career, but when the opportunity came up, it really struck a chord with me – after all, those who get to hear me rant and rave in person have probably heard all they could ever want with regards to crappy software, so now here’s my chance to do something about it (though for the record, my current employer’s software is pretty good).

Since my background in Software Testing is lacking formality, my new employer has been kind enough to provide me with all sorts of resources to fill in the gap, and one of these resources is sending us to the monthly Toronto Association of Systems and Software Quality meeting. This month’s talk was entitled “What Dr. Seuss taught me about software testing.”

This talk was presented by Robert Sabourin, who from what I could see, is a well-known person in the testing field. He runs a firm that specializes in helping testing teams improve their processes (you can check out his site at www.amibug.com). I lucked out, and sat at his table during the pre-talk dinner, and got a chance to soak in a lot of very interesting conversation from all of the people there about testing, certification, and similar topics.

The one thing that struck me, both at dinner and during the talk, is how strongly Robert believes in what he’s doing – at several times, I think the audience was a bit surprised at just how impassioned he was when making his case for the Dr. Seuss books containing parables and metaphors for software testing.

The books that were covered were, for the most part, well-known titles (though a few were a little more obscure, at least to me), and I think they’re all in print in one form or another. I noticed that Robert had a rather large book, which I think was a sort of Dr. Seuss Compendium.

I found his examples to be very compelling, and the Dr. Seuss stories help make the topics easier to understand, especially for those of us who are really new to this. The only drawback I can see to this method, and it’s something that Robert brought up as well, is that of cultural context. If you didn’t grow up with Dr. Seuss books, or didn’t raise your kids with them, then the metaphors might not really make sense.

All-in-all, a very interesting introduction to the field of Software Testing. I look forward to further TASSQ meetings, and conversations with Robert.

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