Ghalib on Quality
One of the very famous Urdu poets is Mirza Asad Ullah Khan Ghalib (or simply Ghalib). His verses are quoted in every master piece of Urdu literature that came out after him and many of his verses have become idioms in the daily talks. Ghalib is often referred as Chachcha Ghalib (meaning Uncle Ghalib) and me being a loving nephew of Uncle Ghalib, have taken many words of wisdom from him in my life. Anyone who has spent a few hours with me would recall me referring to one verse or other of Uncle. I recently started wondering if Uncle Ghalib has ever talked about Software Quality and Testing. My quest was not unsuccessful.
(the original picture is here: http://www.mukherjee.net.in/mirza-ghalib/ )
The first thing to note was that Ghalib was a true believer of Quality work and in his entire life, he published just one book called “Deewan e Ghalib”. It has many versions but the authentic one (the one I think is) has around 200 pages that have about 1400 verses. Yes only this much and he has more fame than any other Urdu Poet. It is believed that he had actually written lot more stuff than that, but he just wanted the best of his writings to be associated with the brand name of Ghalib. Hence he sets a high standard for all of us: “only publish your best stuff and keep the rest with you”.
Then I found many verses referring to directly and indirectly to our subject and would like to mention a few here as a complete write up would call for a thesis:
Qatray main Dajla dikhayee na day aur Juzw main kul
Khail larkoan ka hua, deeda e beena na hua
(Translation: If you cannot envision a river from a drop and cannot think of a whole in a part, then your vision is like kids and not like a wise man)
Yup, Uncle Ghalib is referring to systems thinking here and suggests all visionary people to infer to the holistic view whenever inspecting sub-parts.
Aagahee Daam e Shuneedan jis qadar chaahay bichaa lay
Mudaa Anqaa hay apnay aalam e taqreer ka
(Translation: It is up to you how much you can add to whatever you have heard. The one who said it is not around to confirm it.)
Hmmmm, did it has any connection with requirement gathering. And making any thing out of ‘perceived’ requirement form the user and then say “this is what the user wanted”. That puts even more focus on communication.
Rag o Pay main jab utray zahr e gham tab daikhiyay kia ho
Abhee to talkhee e kaam o dahan kee aazmayesh hay
(Translation: When the poison would reach every nook and the corner of the body, then we’ll see what happens. For now, we are dealing with a bad taste in the mouth)
Poisonous software kills users but the first bad taste that it creates is through it’s user interface. And if it doesn’t look good, the taker of it might start thinking of some other harm it would make.
Phir ussy bay wafa pay martay hain
Phir wohee zindagi hamari hay
(Translation: Now-a-days, we are again in love with the same betrayer. Now-a-days, we are living the same life again)
Whenever as a tester, I pick up the smoke test for umpteenth time execution I remember this. So much repetitiveness in testing for the same betrayer requirements and test specifications… ahh. We need to do something about it.
Do you know of other verses from Ghalib on this subject? Or any other poets who cared about software quality?