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2 minute read - Influences

Build your own model of software testing – or rediscover one from several thousand years ago

Oct 31, 2011

I was working out the kinks in my high level software testing model, and, through a process of speed reading and stichomancy I found that I have re-created an early Buddhist doctrine.

In “The Story of Chinese Zen” by Nan Huai-Chin, I find listed the five Skandhas:

  • form
  • sensation
  • conception
  • activity
  • consciousness

I was boiling my model down to:

  • model
  • observe
  • intent
  • manipulate
  • reflect

I’ve re-ordered my list to tie in more closely to the Skandhas.

Quite a useful coincidence.

Below I list a simple set of my correspondence ’tween the lists.

I have ‘model’ instead of ‘form’ because our world comes to us from our perception of it, not from it itself. Perception allows us to experience bias and hallucination, and provides the scope for us to change how we perceive.

As testers ‘sensation’ comes to us through our awareness, with our observation. We have to learn how to expand our range of observations and utilise tools to help us observe. Acts of observation can help us turn noise into data and subsequently into information which we can act upon.

When we test with intent, we bring purpose into our testing. We know what we set out to do/explore/check/exploit/etc. We often move off the beaten path and open ourselves to surreptitious happenstance, but only if we observe that happening can we utilise it.

Manipulate – the favourite ‘bad’ word of the hypnotist, although even as a hypnotist I felt happy using it, and as a tester I do it frequently. Shaping the system through my action.

Reflect, if all we did was progress from our initial intent then we would not learn. We reflect, to learn, move on, ever better, and more deeply.

And so, dear reader. Did you create your model yet? If so, see where else you can find it!

Follow on Reading:

Thanks to James Lyndsay for the recent chat about correspondences between my model and his.