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Are We Crazy? A Neuropsychological Investigation of Perfection in Testing

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Testing is dangerous. No, I don’t mean it’s hazard-pay dangerous or wear-your-helmet dangerous, but it is drive-you-crazy dangerous. We work in an industry that is constantly, deliberately, and effectively driving us nuts.

Why? Because testers have slipped into the obsessive role of Perfectionists. Whether due to our own ambition, organizational pressure or expectations from colleagues, Testing has become less about exploring quality and more about ensuring no flaws or defects get through. Failure to do this results in less than ideal consequences for us, again both by our organization and by ourselves.

What I want to do is walk through what we do, why we do it and why we keep stumbling along the path and into dangerous territory. Join me in looking at the world as it is, not as how we’ve been indoctrinated into thinking it should be. Let’s review the difference between quality and expectations, dismiss the myth of perfection and open our eyes to the real world, full of wonderfully inept and sub-par quality items we either completely ignore or love deeply.

Key Takeaways:

  • Perfection is a myth and the world runs on flaws
  • Our job is not to be perfect but knowing that understanding imperfection is a worthy goal
  • Our greatest value comes in our knowledge of flaws

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Editor's Image

Rick Tracy

Rick is an avid Test Philosopher, always up for a good debate, discussion or exploration of the many facets of Testing and Software Development in general. He worked 5 years at Rabobank WRR Finance in the Netherlands and now does development, testing, requirements analysis, Agile scrummastering and test coordination for his consultancy company Hapalion.

When not testing, discussing, or listening at conferences and events, Rick enjoys writing his (one day to be published!) novel, sword fighting and cuddling his outrageously adorable cats. While he has a reputation for always having a story to tell, Rick prefers an interactive lecture or debate to a chalkboard presentation.

Twitter: @KITesting

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