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Engineer or artist

I just read Eric Jacobsons post on testers as plate spinners, and I like the idea. When I am testing a product, I try to get the broad test perspective before I go deep. This would be the same as spinning all plates in the beginning, and then of course they drop off one after the other while spinning just a few for longer time.

However, I think is wise to think about the context also when talking about this. As a part of a test team, having all of them just cover the broad and shallow areas can get you into trouble if time is limited. In that case maybe it is better to manage the team so that not all plates are spun by all team members. I think that is what Mihai is trying to make a point about in his comment. But I don’t like the statement he makes about not having all team artists because they are really engineers. That statement is really about a tester that has a hard time letting go of old process models, and not about the engineer or artist.

My view is that engineers are artists in most areas. They explore the solutions, with or without rules, but preferably not completely bound to the rules. Comparing with the circus artist again, if you have a team that collaborates around the problem at hand they will solve the problem. It will be a self-managing team of artists.

Thanks for the post Eric!

Categories: testing Tags: , ,
  1. January 26, 2011 at 03:10

    So true! Engineers are artists, particularly engineers who design products and systems. I’ve worked closely with both design engineers and artists and the process is almost the same.

    Thanks for sharing your point of view!

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