Friday, May 3, 2013

So, what is the "Miagi-do School of Software Testing?"

We've been a bit cagey with this over the past few years, but we've decided that we want to do more, be more, and actually draw a line in the sand and say "this is what we stand for, this is who we are, and this is why we are here".

Miagi-do officially placed itself in a place where it could be found today. If you would like to see our opening salvo, Markus Gaertner has written about who we are and why we do what we do. This will be a place where many of us (including me) will be discussing what we do, how we do it, and how others can get involved. With a lot of the conversation going on right now on Twitter regarding certifications, being anti-certification, questioning the validity of certification, questioning the validity of those questioning the validity of certification, and a Twitter account that, at least on the surface, looks to call into question the motives of all in question (pause, long deep breath)... I wanted to make the point that I feel is missing from all of this.

I distrust any certification or course of study that doesn't, in some way, actually have a tester demonstrate their skills, or have a chance to defend their reasoning or rationale behind those skills.

I dislike metrics. I find them easy to exploit and easy to politicize. I find it much more valuable to give someone a challenge and see how they actually do. I value seeing why someone feels the way they do about a topic. I want to hear them explain their position and persuade me, or defend their position if I disagree. I want to watch them sweat through real world problems. If there's any one certification I actually see of real value that commercially available, it's the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert, because they have had to prove multiple times in actual labs that they can solve a problem and fix issues in real time.

That's why I gravitate towards BBST, Weekend Testing and Miagi-do. I want to see an emphasis on real skill transfer. To borrow my martial arts metaphor from earlier this week (and really, from three years ago), you may or may not have the skills needed to progress and be effective if you pass a MCT. Just like in Aikido, you may know the ins and outs of dozens of Kata moves. You may even be able to explain them real well, but if three guys with knives rush you simultaneously, one of two things is going to happen. You will either fend them off, or you will be taken down. I'm all for you being able to explain what to do. That's great. More important, I want to see that you can also fend off the knife wielders. I may be impressed with your intellect by the former. I'll put my trust in you if you can show me the latter. My goal, and the goal of Miagi-do, is  to help as many testers as possible be firmly in the second option.

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