At one point I calculated that less than 2% of my work time was test execution.
There is so much more to the test profession than meets the eye, and I would like to illustrate this with a classic Swedish children’s book, written by Sven Nordqvist:
Pannkakstårtan (The Pancake Pie)
The TL;DR version goes like this:
Pettson and his cat Findus are planning to bake a birthday cake. But in order to do that they need to scare off a bull, in order to get a ladder, in order to reach the attic, in order to get a fishing rod, in order to get a key, in order to gain access to the workshop, in order to fix a flat tire on the bike, in order to get to the store and buy flour.
In this example, baking the birthday cake equals test execution. There are eight (8) necessary steps blocking test execution, all of which need to be fixed before the “actual” work can commence.
But wait, the book doesn’t end there!
Unfortunately for Pettson, there is a mishap, and he needs to clean up a mess of eggs and mud. Pettson, wise from the previous mistakes of not having everything in order, decides to clean up the mess. At that very moment Pettson’s neighbor pays him a visit, and he mistakenly believes that the egg-mud-mix is a pancake batter. Mud pancakes? Pettson has truly lost it this time. The neighbor thus gossips to the whole village that Pettson is crazy.
The moral of this story
It’s easy to get stuck in the idea that testing is just pressing some UI buttons and seeing whether something works or not. But quality work starts so much earlier in the development cycle. There are test activities and quality interventions that are ideally done even before development even starts!
Sidenote: There’s a reason why this book is a classic in Sweden. If you have kids and haven’t read it: please do! It’s hilarious for kids and adults alike.