Some time ago I wrote this http://www.satisfice.com/blog/
comment on James Bach’s blog. I would like to open up a bit more the whole
theme and how I think about it.
There was a whole lot of discussion of “test is dead” this year. My claim is that “ISTQB kills people”. I don’t even need to use that as a cheap marketing trick adopted from Nietzsche. I don’t need to wear a black robe to say it. The only thing needed is to look news and see when poor software testing causes the loss of lives. (I am not claiming all that is directly because of ISTQB, but I am not too far from the claim either.)
As all clever readers understood, the formulation of the claim is made according to the “test is dead” nonsense. I do criticize ISTQB, and sometimes I do it loud, but surely it’s easy to comprehend I could not possibly have enough information to make claims like that with certainty. It’s a bait, a highly simplified declaration of an extremely complex chain of events. Ironically, that is exactly what ISTQB is doing to testing for example when they define “boundary value testing” like they do.
Many testers are against ISTQB partially because “it’s just a way to make money”. I have nothing against them making money. (I don’t know how much money they make, actually, I only know they don’t make it in Finland) I’d like to have a discussion with someone about this in fact because I think either I am missing something or those testers are; or maybe both. Nevertheless, I am against ISTQB for various other reasons, such as it doesn’t improve skills to think/question (actually quite the opposite), it isn’t about testing skills, it’s based on multiple choice answers and it advocates poor metrics.
I asked also:
How often have you seen a professional use scripts to be able to do his work? They might have some sort of checklists for helping not to forget important things, for example. But if you can imagine some profession where serious pre-scripting is needed, please let me know, so I can think about this again.
And got a reply from Jesper L Ottosen:
Moviemaking. … That is Blockbuster Movie Making.
But then there are also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
But then there are also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
I think this is a good answer for two reasons. Firstly, it’s not accurate in the sense of “serious pre-scripting” (which was not defined by me at all). Secondly, simplification of (blockbuster) movie making can be seen like this, just like is often happening to testing in the eyes of non-testers. When we think about a movie script, we are seeing something that could be thought to be for example user stories. Screenplay can contain for example expressions and movements of actors, but most movies have lightning, sound, cameras, make up, clothing, etc. which are not pre-scripted. But yes, there is indeed a wide variety of movies with a diverse amount of scripting done. I’ve seen quite a few Finnish movies where even the dialogues are not scripted – only some guidelines are given to actors.
Furthermore, I found out this comment by Michael Pilaeten (http://www.pilaeten.be/?p=
In the comments of one of James Bach’s posts, Jari Laakso claimed that ISTQB is killing people. I can only assume that he’s joking, since no human with an IQ of less than 2 digits would read James’ blog. But that does not mean that the whole certification discussing has little to no value.
It’s not quite a joke what I wrote, but as I said above, it’s neither a “this is how it is” statement. The essence is showing the foolishness of sentences like “test is dead”. I won’t dig in deeper in this if I don’t get any further comments. However, I would like to take a pick on his analogy between ISTQB certification and car driving license.
I understand how people confuse these to have something in common. At some point I thought this too. I will explain how I don’t see them anymore similar in any way. Please note, I am considering a driving license only from my own context as I have no idea of other driving licenses than a Finnish one. (Ok, I do know how it goes in Romania also, but I haven’t gone through the process personally and I don’t want to use second-hand information.)
ISTQB Foundation Level certification is basically about theory and vocabulary. (Not to mention how far away from reality they go with that.) A car driving license examination is about knowing theory (physics, traffic signs and law) and putting it into practice (driving in traffic, slippery road driving, avoiding obstacles, parking between two obstacles and so forth).
From driving license examination process you get feedback on how well you did, where you can improve, how to lower gas consumption, etc. If you pass the theory part (mandatory before you can even try practical part) you are allowed to try the driving exam. Obviously, you can’t pass the exam if you don’t know how to drive well enough to survive in traffic. (More context, I never did a driving exam is some 1000 person town, but possibly there it’s easier to pass.)
I don’t want to say all certificates and certifications are useless. I don’t even think everything about ISTQB is waste. But as an entity, with all parts included, it is pretty much futile. I hope this clarifies on my current view on the subject. I also hope to get lots of feedback and comments so I can review my own thoughts and get a grasp on how other people see this.