Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Value of "Showing Up"

As many of you might have seen me post a time or two, I have contributed a chapter towards a book dedicated to "REDUCING THE COST OF SOFTWARE TESTING". This has been an interesting journey, and as many of you know, I was a late addition to the project. In fact, I owe my being in the book due to being a reviewer early on, and because of  an author having to drop out of the project, I had a momentary lapse of reason and suggested that, maybe, I could take a swing at a chapter.

With that, I submitted my chapter idea, went through a number of rounds of critique and review, and ultimately I got the green light for my chapter to appear alongside many people I respect and admire in this crazy little industry known as software testing.


A somewhat famous quote, and one that was echoed to me early in the process of writing this book, was that "80% of life is just showing up". The quote is attributed to Woody Allen. After experiencing a number of things over the years, I believe this quote to be accurate. Many opportunities in life will come our way simply because we are there when the opportunity arises. We have a chance to do something, and we say "Well, OK, why not? Someone is going to do this... why shouldn't I take a crack at this?!"

Of course, it's not really enough to just "show up". We have to make the opportunity amount to something if we want a chance to be called into service again. Still, in so many situations, we don't even get to the point where showing up is an option. In short, we tell ourselves "Oh, I'm not good enough, or I'm not smart enough, or I don't have enough experience". Another quote that works well with this, I think, is Wayne Gretzky's famous "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

      The key from there is that, once we've shown up, we need to be prepared to give of ourselves and run with the opportunity that's been presented to us. The cute part of the quote is, honestly, the word "just"... which may make some people frustrated or think he's pandering or otherwise minimizing the effort. He's not. He's emphasizing that taking that first step, sticking your neck out, and then following through, is prerequisite to showing up. It all comes together for a successful venture that goes beyond just dumb luck. Don't get me wrong, lots of time dumb luck just happens, but it's rare.

Anyway, this is all a long winded way for me to say "our book is almost here!" and "I'd really love it if you all would reserve a copy and tell your friends about it". Who knows, with some good press, some forward thinking testers making the purchase and spreading the word, and organizations heeding the advice we give, we may well see more opportunities like this book appear in the future... and then maybe another tester out there will get the opportunity to "show up" and do something really cool. How awesome would that be :)?
How to Reduce the Cost of Software Testing
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