Monday, February 6, 2012

Exploratory testing in TV

I like to observe the things around and spend time analyzing what I have observed. I am a big fan of analyzing the behavior of people I see. Sometimes, especially if I am not yet sure how to expect a person to react in certain situations, I make up sentences that force a person to reveal himself.

When it comes to TV characters, analyzing them is not usually my game. Some of the reasons I don’t find it too fascinating are: an acted character is a mixture of multiple personalities, mostly the sentences are pre-scripted and actors don’t have freedom to interpret the character, their personalities are over-emphasized, and you have too much insight on their actions.

But TV offers sometimes, actually quite often, connections to for example software testing. Today, I’d like to use “House” as an example because I’ve been watching it again lately. House has usually the same kind of storyline: someone is dying, first and second diagnoses are completely wrong, third makes the situation even worse, and finally the fourth curing diagnosis Dr. House comes up with by doing something completely different and getting a revelation from that. Commonly, Dr. House gives pointers and guidance for the team to come up with the first 3 diagnoses.

Throughout the series, Dr. House presents himself as someone who doesn’t trust others – especially his patients. Not only ignoring them, but even to the point to say where they are wrong, how they are lying and how he knows this by observing them carefully and speedily. He would not do the job only to help cure people. His motivation is to solve puzzles and show to others what he can do. In many episodes he gives people the kind of treatment he is told not to give. He possesses the skills to make others follow him in this behavior.

The way how diagnoses are made is fascinating. All kind of office material is used from whiteboards to pieces of paper on the floor. Sometimes the whiteboard has a picture of a human and symptoms are posted over their respective body parts. Sometimes the wall is covered with keywords and the viewer is showed how Dr. House is “moving” them in his mind. Yet, the last diagnosis appears in his mind when defocusing of something usually completely irrelevant for the case in hand. Many episodes have autoimmune and/or lupus mentioned, but I can’t recall how often they actually break the case.

The treatments are at least as intriguing as the diagnoses. First treatment seems to have an effect, but something else appears. Second medication has a similar affect, but in this phase the doctors start thinking if they understand at all what is happening. Third option almost always makes things as bad as they could possibly go from a doctor’s point of view; the patient starts dying faster because of wrong care. Fourth, and commonly last, attempt of rescue hits the spot and the patient recovers fast.

From many points of view this reminds of software testing and testers. What are your thoughts on this and how your favorite TV series’ seem like software testing? (Found this blog post from a Twitter-friend from the same topic after writing my text

No comments:

Post a Comment