Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Thu, 04 Jan 2007

The people have spoken

In November, the people of the United States elected the 110th Congress, which has just been sworn in. More, they sent a message, loud and clear: it's time for people to take responsibility for their screwups and be specific about why anyone should believe they'll do better going forward. With this note, I obey the people's command.

I most regret these two failures from last year:

  • I did a lousy job as the product director for the new Agile Alliance web site. I quickly found myself without enough time to do it right. I then made the classic mistake of not calling for help. Instead, each iteration I reviewed completed stories less carefully and tested them less thoroughly. As time went on, I produced only sketchy stories: essentially, I dumped my responsibility for the shape of the product in the programmer's lap. I "managed" the project into being late and over budget.

    Thankfully, someone else is now the product director, so I don't need to explain how I'll do better at that. However, I need to deal with my track record of saying "Yes" to worthy causes. Therefore, for the rest of this year, the answer to any software-related opportunity to volunteer is "No" unless:

    1. It has to do with either (a) supporting the product director role or (b) working against the notion that Agile is a ready-to-package commodity rather than a half-understood craft, and

    2. I'm working as part of a team. And not the least dispensible part, either.

  • As the head of the page shows, I'm nearly back at the weight that gave me my "big visible belly" idea. The root cause was that last year was a really lousy year in a lot of ways. Stress ⇒ flab. At some point, the embarrassment of weekly backsliding or at best stasis caused me to stop updating my visible chart of non-progress: and that was all she wrote.

    I will regain my svelteness because:

    1. I'm getting rid of the stress of over-volunteering and then letting people down.

    2. I dropped thirty pounds in my late twenties. It took until my early/mid forties to gain the weight back. In this second drop, it took less than a year to bounce back up. After a lifetime outside popular culture, my self-image cannot let me join in on the trite peak-and-valley weight loss cycle.

    3. I rely more on exercise than not eating to lose weight. I have three chronic joint and tendon injuries that make certain exercises impossible and others difficult. I find that incredibly discouraging. At least one, perhaps all, of the injuries are chronic because I was too much of a milquetoast to insist on thorough treatment while they were still acute. I'm going to get some decent treatment now. I know that chronic injuries don't get fully reversed, and I know that even an injury-free me could never regain my peak. (Ah, the days of 10% body fat and a resting pulse rate below 60...) But I can make things less difficult.

Your turn, Mr. President.

## Posted at 21:53 in category /misc [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




Agile Testing Directions
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Testers on agile projects

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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
  2. A test should deduce its setup path
  3. Convert the suite one failure at a time
  4. You should be able to get to any page in one step
  5. Extract fast tests about single pages
  6. Link checking without clicking on links
  7. Workflow tests remain GUI tests
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