Saturday, February 19, 2011

Have you defined your Body of Work ?

I tried searching for Software Testing Records, could not find anything. Why dont Software Testers have any records ?

This was one of the questions raised by one of the participant in an Open session of recently concluded Bug-De-Bug conference . Honestly, a part of me thought of dismissing it as one of those naive questions usually asked in the public forums/conferences. Luckily, another (and better) part persisted in giving this question a more thought in-depth.

During my early days in the profession, i often used to wonder- Why cannot Software Testing be as glamorous a profession as Cinema or Politics or may be like Soccer or Cricket ? What aren't Software Testers as popular and as famous as people involved in these fields ? As the time has passed and if i look back to find the answers to these questions, i see it in different ways listed below-

- Everything that is Glamorous and popular isn’t necessarily always great. We have had several example of High profile Politicians, Actors and even Sports personalities who are involved in larger than life scams thereby signifying a sort of ethical deficit. All that Glitters is certainly not Gold!

- With time and energy of people, Software Testing profession has evolved into a larger ecosystem, which is large enough to have its own Celebrities. It was not very long ago that Jerry Weinberg got chosen as a Testing Luminary by a democratic voting process. Is Jerry any short of a Testing Celebrity ? There are a lot of media coverage associated with Software Testing and its practitioners. And all this attention is well-deserved for a profession that is expected to have a market of $56 Billion by 2013. Yes, you heard that number right, its $ 56 Billion. The future of testing is going to see a lot of new Celebrities evolve and who knows it may become a sort of Glamorous profession (in literal sense) when someone comes up with a concept of Reality Show on Software Testing possibly having real time testers working in time-bound interval to test a challenging Software. Wow, the future looks exciting!

Thinking over both these questions again- there may be many reasons why dont we have records for Software Testing like there is no historian taking care of maintaining the record (like we have in various Sports, Politics), Nobody has attempted to apply in Guinness Book of World records or may be testers are not really fascinated by records or by being Glamorous and like to silently add value to the product.
Now, that raises a very Interesting question- What are Software Testers really fascinated by ? What defines the body of work for a Software Tester ? One of the Art blogs defined Body of Work as something that is comprised of multiple pieces that are cohesive in nature.

Robin Sharma in one of his books mentions this anecdote about the Body of Work-
Art Buchwald, the writer, who was around 80 and battling Kidney failure was once asked, "What is your idea of perfect happiness ?" "Being Healthy" was his reply. He was asked, "Which talent would you most like to have ?" "Living" was his reply. Then he was asked, "What is your most treasured possession ?" "All of my writing- my 32 books and all of my columns".
The point of wisdom that you and I can take away ? Greatness comes when you create something with your life that is not only bigger that you but outlasts you. Legitimacy and recognition and prestige and material things are all fine and are very human pursuits. But there is something far more important: Legacy. Making a difference. Having an impact. Creating something special. And meaningful.
What Body of Work will you create over your life so that the generations who follow will know that you've been here ? What will your "most treasured possession" look like ?

If you as a Software Tester are at the fag end of your career, what kind of things do you want to look back with pride ?
If you were to do a paragraph about your accomplishments in Software Testing, how would it look ?

Have you defined your Body of Work ?

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