Take off your ‘khopay’
In the rural parts of my native province Punjab, the life revolves around agriculture. The word Punjab literally means “Panj Aab” i.e. land of five rivers. In earlier times majority of the water wells were operated by animals mostly the Ox. Those animals have some sense and they don’t want to move in circle without any reason. To combat this, the Oxen were given special spectacles called ‘khopay’ which were made of leather and would block their view. They’ll keep on walking all day thinking that they have covered considerable distance whereas actually they were moving in circle just to keep the specially made ‘Rahut’ to keep moving and fetch water out of the well. I could not find a picture of those ‘khopay’ wearing, very smart looking Oxen but got this one in which their eyes are covered with a cloth. Nevertheless, the purpose is the same.
(the original picture is here: http://nativepakistan.com/photos-of-pakistani-villages/ and it has a good collection of village photos. Do have a look)
What’s the purpose of this story? Not because I am from Punjab and I want to promote the local culture but because I believe that some of the centuries old wisdom can be used in modern world. So if you want to really travel some distance, please take off your ‘khopay’.
I can go to length on this subject as I’d do in a personal talk but here my subject is software testing, so let’s see if testers have ‘khopay’ and they can take them off.
One ‘khopay’ is that testers often get into their silos keeping disconnected with rest of the team. Only if they could talk more to other Amigos in the team, they could get rid of the ‘khopay’ and would see an entirely new view of the world. In a recent article in Better Magazine’s July/August 2013 issue, an article by Julie Hurst explains pretty well one such team that resulted in the false belief that everybody can be a tester. Read the article for more details.
The other ‘khopay’ is test plans. When you start running an application while have the ‘khopay’ of the test plan, your view is blocked and you only see things that test plan wants you to see. Exploratory testing can get you rid of this and as Micheal Bolton explains in his recent blog for EuroSTAR:
“In my observation, a tester who follows a test case strictly does not find many bugs, nor does the test case help with the really serious work of investigating, exploring, reproducing, and reporting a problem. Nonetheless, many testers find themselves being evaluated by the number of test cases they have performed in a day, rather than the value of the information that they’ve provided to the development team.”
The above ‘khopay’ are taken on voluntarily basis by the testers but on other occasions they are provided with some nice ‘khopay’ by others. If you hear your team members saying statements like these, chances are that you are being offered a shiny pair of “khopay”, so be careful:
“The product is not yet ready to be tested”
“The answer to this question is too technical for you to understand”
“This area is well tested through unit tests written by Developers”
Can you think of other ‘khopay’ in testing? Or other software development work?