193: Biscuit Testing a Scientific Approach with Mike Talks

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Mike Talks Test Talks Feature

In this episode Mike Talks shares insights from his years of texting experience. Discover testing tips and techniques like biscuit testing, the scientific approach to testing, how to test fighter jets and more.

About Mike Talks

Mike Talks Head Shot

Mike works as a test manager in Datacom, New Zealand. Prior to focusing on testing, he worked mainly on a developer on aerospace themed applications, before focusing on testing and automation. As well as relatively new languages like Java and C++, he’s also worked in older frameworks such as Fortran 77, ADA and Lisp. Lisp!!!

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • I'm trying to work out the first principles. I want to see if this factor is an issue. How do I isolate this factor? How do I create a good scientific test for that? That's what good scientists teach and of course when we're looking at functionality of a system sometimes that is a little bit of a system that you want to isolate from everything else run a little bit of a test on and trying to design those kinds of tests is something I kind never enjoy, to be honest.
  • Biscuit testing again it goes down to this idea that testing is all around us. We don't just test software. I learned that from watching my granddad and watching my dad actually watching my dad. We test things we want to find information about things. We want to know what's going on. And my summer job I went to the biscuit factory surrounded by biscuits. Sounds like a dream come true for the first day and then you get sick of the sight of them. And indeed they cook a batch of biscuits put together to put them on a conveyor belt be put into boxes of packets and within each batch, there's potential for something to go wrong. Much like software engineering.
  • We don't like to give trust blindly and sometimes choosing a few samples from the batch of automation that you're doing to run manually and say yeah yeah this is good this is doing what it's supposed to do.
  • I know some people that want to go down the extreme route of never touching anything that's automated. Which is like given complete trust to automation then every so often you look at an automation test and go that doesn't quite work the way I think it does. Although you want to repeat everything in which case what's the point of having the automation. I always like that approach to them taking that balance. Well, are doing a little bit you just doing a little bit to give you confidence in the whole lot.
  • I've been in the industry over 20 years and there's a little game I like to play called — Why are we testing? You've actually seen one blog I've answered this question at least twice possibly three times and the answers were slightly different. Why is the answer changing it's changing as I kind of think more deeply about what-what I'm actually trying to achieve in my testing. What is the process that I'm doing and as I've repeatedly asked and thought deeper and deeper about that I thought more about the philosophy of what we're actually doing as particularly an intermediate type of tester the tend to be very focused on –I am doing these testing because somebody else is asking me to do this testing. This is the customer wants me to do this way. My manager wants me to do this way. And it means that often when you move from one project to the next you tend to be copying paste what are you doing. Like on my last project we did this why don't we do this. I think the way to become a really great Tester is to think more about why you're doing things. What's the benefit? Where is the benefit in what you are doing? Is it is a waste of time because you do this more efficiently? Those are the key questions to ask yourself. For every piece of the process that you follow every activity that you do and that kind of challenge makes you think much deeper about what it is that you're trying to do with testing.

Connect with Mike Talks

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