What does the future hold?


One of the most amazing things about working in the technology and software world is that this industry advances so fast that I have no real idea what software/technology I'll be testing on and writing about in 10 years time.

10 years ago I hadn't really heard of cloud computing, now I'm testing call centres hosted in the cloud. 10 years ago I was just starting to test on web apps, now it seems everything is available online.

Almost every article I read is about testing web apps, using web testing tools or some form of web based testing service. Combine this with the general mobile phone uptake trends you have a very mobile, very web, very technology heavy future. Add to this the lowering of barriers of entry (cost and availability of technology) and it wont be long before we are facing option paralysis when deciding which configuration to start testing on first.

As more people adopt modern technology, whether willingly or not, it's clear a wider array of technology and applications will be moving online and mobile providing us with numerous challenges of not only testing the functionality but also the human factors (or ergonomics) side of our apps and the devices they run on.

Self service (by end users) is also becoming a big selling feature and with mobile devices being just as powerful as many desktop devices it's clear we have a future dominated by mega massive selections of devices to test against, all running on varying degrees of network capability used in a mind melting variety of contexts. Add to that the seemingly natural way in which the future generations have perfected the art of managing multiple devices and we can quickly see how testing may need to evolve to keep up.

So my domain knowledge of the product and industry will need to evolve to keep up with technology and trends, this hasn't changed much. It's always been the case.

But also my approaches, test tools and ideas about testing will need to grow, shift and evolve too. But also too my test environments will need to evolve to keep up with the relentless progress of technology and communications. In fact, some test environments may just need ripping apart and rebuilding. And for some, this could be the biggest testing challenge they will face.

So how do you see your test lab or your test "approach" evolving over the next 10 years?

Image courtesy of : http://www.flickr.com/photos/levitateme

I ain’t afraid of no Ghost

As someone interested in history, culture, photography and architecture (amongst other things) it’s no surprise that I’m fascinated with Ghost Signs.

Ghost signs are wall painted signs from the 19th and 20th century that are still visible in today’s modern world. Check out the Flickr group here for an idea. They represent to me a perfect combination of old and new. A mutual partnership; historical respect and rampant modernisation.


Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/imarcc/

There are ghost signs on the walls of office blocks, coffee houses and loft apartments. They are everywhere, often un-noticed by us as we go about our daily lives, but they are indeed still there, a stubborn pointer to history and lives now long gone. Look closely and you’ll start to see them, faded and peeling but representing a time gone by.

Yet we also have modern signs and symbols dotted around our environments too from “For Sale” signs to “Fly Posters”. We are creating our own urban landscapes. Modern signs, often short term and lightweight, often re-usable, moveable, recycleable, flexible and targetted.

The White Swan, Grosvenor Street West - Fleurets - Leasehold For Sale sign

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/ell-r-brown/

Many modern signs serve several purposes and have future re-use built in. No longer a permanent advert but a temporary display, ready to be removed to make way for the next sign. A reflection of ever changing modern times maybe?

In the testing world i see some interesting similarities.

There are people hanging on to traditional (Existing? Old? Trusted? Proven? Unchallenged? Accepted? Archaic?) ways of working. Running their testing in the same way, over and over again, often complaining about the same problems…over and over again. Never pushing a boundary. Never trying anything new. Maybe never needing to?

Then there are people completely ignoring the past and forging ahead with new ways of doing things. These people are mavericks. They are ahead of the curve. The problem is, they are “out there” and often their ideas and concepts don’t make sense or they ignore the past and make the same mistakes..again.

But there are many who are embracing the past, but are not being bound by it. They are learning from the past mistakes yet embracing new ways of working. They are embracing diversity, collaboration, new communication methods and advances in technology.

These people are exploiting their skills to the maximum but are respectful of what has gone before. They are building on the past, not ignoring it or destroying it. They are using an old framework for something new. They have repurposed an idea or concept. They have made something old relevant to the next generation.

They are using tried and tested approaches to testing but mixing this with new tools to help make these processes more efficient. They are virtualising, automating first, exploring, outsourcing, learning, sharing, collaborating, coworking, socialising, networking, crowdsourcing and enhancing the testing world all the time. Taking what they already know and what has been proven and making it work for today’s workplace. Tweaking it and making it relevant again.

The products and hardware we test on/against is changing..fast, so too does our understanding and appreciation of testing. A new generation of testers are entering the workforce. This next generation might not work in the same way as my generation. We shouldn’t stifle that.. We should embrace it.. The values I hold may not be the same ones my son will hold, that doesn’t mean he is wrong. (not all the time anyway 🙂 )We (or the next generation) just need to do an update to our testing.

A lot of what I do today would not have been possible just a few years ago, but the goal remains the same. The passion, interest, sense of enquiry and downright determination of the tester remains. Stuff still needs testing.

Let’s embrace what works, add to it, subtract from it, mash it up and merge it. Let’s create our own version of Ghost testing. Let’s not ignore the past, but let’s not be bound by it either.