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Beautiful Testing by Adam Goucher, Tim Riley

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What Beauty Is Internal?

There is one more element to beautiful testing we need to consider: internal beauty. Let’s return to the metaphor of a test team as an Olympic marathon runner or an Ironman triathlete. Underneath the surface, their internal organs all serve the purpose of athletic performance. Muscles are trained for hour after hour of endurance. The digestive system enables the conversion of carbohydrates to fuel and protein to muscle, and distributes water into the body to maintain healthy hydration. So, we can measure effectiveness, efficiency, and elegance by calories burned, body fat percentages, and long-term health.

A good test team also displays a similar internal beauty. Since testing is like a marathon, we need a test team that can go the distance on project after project, often under trying circumstances.

Suppose you have determined that your team spends a sizeable percentage of its time doing regression testing manually. Even if the defect detection metric indicates that you don’t miss many bugs, manual regression testing is tedious, expensive, error-prone, slow, and morale-sapping. So you could decide to use automation to reduce the manual effort while continuing to maintain a low level of regression risk in delivered products. How might you determine your externally visible effectiveness and efficiency for this objective? Consider the following questions:

  • What percentage of regression tests have we automated?

  • What percentage of regression-related quality risks ...

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