My uncle is an audio file.  He buys his equipment only after borrowing it to test in his house.  He prefers vinyl, American-made audio equipment brands I’ve never heard of, uses dedicated amps, and only rips to FLAC.  The sound quality of his system is impeccable.

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted a sound system as good as my uncle’s.  When I was 14, I spent my paper route money on a pair of Boston Acoustic speakers, and a Marantz receiver (instead of the flashy JVC models).  The following year I bought a Magnavox CD player because it had the curved slot in the CD arm, which at the time, meant it used a quality laser reader.  Years later I added a Paradigm subwoofer after exhaustive research.

Although my home audio system doesn’t sound nearly as good as my uncle’s, it does sound better than most, at least I think so.  I take pride in maintaining it and enjoy listening to music that much more.

The more I learn about testing, the more I start to compare my testing job to that of others.  I feel pressure to modernize all test approaches and implement cool test techniques I’ve heard about.  I’m embarrassed to admit I use a Kanban board without enforcing a WIP.  Some in the industry advise:

"Try to do the right thing. If you cannot – leave!”

But I feel satisfaction making small changes.  I enjoy the challenge of debate.  I refine my ideas and find balance via contention.  A poor process provides fodder for performance goals.  Nirvana is boring.


Inspired by yet another Michael Bolton post.  I’ll try to stop doing that.


  1. Steven said...

    I think you mean

  2. Eric Jacobson said...

    I did! Thanks Steven.

  3. Glenn Halstead said...

    I enjoyed reading your post this morning Eric, thanks for writing it. I was fortunate to spend the formative years of my career at Motorola where Continuous Process Improvement was the air we breathed. I think this approach is fruitful and satisfying: making constant improvements to how we do things.

  4. Lanessa Hunter said...

    The more I learn about testing, the more I start to compare my testing job to that of others. I feel pressure to...But I feel satisfaction in making small changes. I can relate. I do believe the perfect testing job is already mine. Being in a creative environment which supports people and progress helps tremendously.

    The more I learn about testing the more I start to relate aspects of my testing job to other fields of work such as construction, mechanical engineering, environmental science, biology, psychology. When my dad tells me about interactions with customers in his welding shop I tell him how such scenarios (requirements-related) are not that different from what I handle in "my computer job" as he calls it.

    When and if I occasionally find myself at or between opposite ends of the boredom vs. overwhelmed spectrum in my work, I can read blogs like yours or reach out to a peer or mentor for an attitude adjustment, a way of looking at things to help set me back on track. i.e. be satisfied with
    small progress or to come to understand/learn from and move beyond the source of some fleeting feeling.
    I have learned the grass is brilliant green right here. As a kid and through my 20's I was drawn to biology, microbiology, chemistry, ecology, environmental ethics. I have always regarded these subjects with a sense of reverence. Nowadays testing inspires a similar "epistemic humility" (paragraph 7 of Michael Bolton's "I've Had it with Defects"'s okay to be inspired by MB.) Thanks for providing me with an opportunity to ramble and ruminate. :)

    Your devoted Florida reader and MB fan girl,

  5. Unknown said...

    Excellent article, you always made me think in the testing career deeper issues, not all is about techniques, tools and methodologies, and yes, it is about the motivation, passion and attitude itself
    (PD I think you should still inspire in other articles in fact, it is about different perspectives of the same issue)

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