Yes, Michael Bolton is one of my biggest mentors. And you’ve read a lot of fanboy posts on this blog. But before I start spewing stuff from my RST notes, I want to post a disagreement I had with Michael Bolton (and RST). After a 15 minute discussion, he weakened my position. But I still disagree with this statement:
We don’t test to find out if something works. We test to find out if it doesn’t work.
Here is a reason I disagree: Knowing at least one way software can work, may be more valuable than knowing a thousand ways it can NOT work.
Example: Your product needs to help users cross a river. Which is more valuable to your users?
- “hey users, if you step on these exact rocks, you have a good chance of successfully crossing the river”
- “hey users, here are a bunch of ways you can NOT cross the river: jump across, swim past the alligators, use the old rickety bridge, swing across on a vine, drain the river, dig a tunnel under it, etc.”
Users only need it to work one way. And if it solves a big enough problem, IMO, those users will walk across the rocks.
Sure, finding the problems is important too. Really important! But if someone puts a gun to my head, and says I only get one test. It’s going to be a happy path test.
Bolton referred us to the following discussion between James Bach and Michael Kelly (http://michaeldkelly.com/media/ then click on “Is there a problem here?”). I thought it would change my mind, as most James Bach lessons do. It hasn’t…yet.
I might be wrong.