Round Earth, Round Testing

As class has progressed this semester, we have learned several testing methods and strategies. While perusing the internet, I found another intriguing test strategy not discussed in class called the Round Earth Test Strategy. This testing strategy turns the test automation pyramid on its head by adding spheres to the triangle.

At the core of these spheres is the Earth, that classic blue sphere we all know and love. We then add concentric spheres around the Earth sphere representing the different levels of testing. Add in some static and dynamic elements such as data and from this we can then take a big slice and lay it out, giving us our Round Earth Test Strategy. One will notice that it does, in fact, turn the test automation pyramid on its head as the base of the triangle is now on top. This maintains that during testing our attention must be towards the surface and the user experience. It also takes our attention away from the lower part of the pyramid which represents the lowest level of the technology, something we rarely test or even can test for that matter. The Round Earth analogy lends itself to good analogies and to deep reasoning as the analogy greases the mental wheels gets the gears turning. The presence of data in the test strategy reminds the testers about data and the model can show testing problems that can occur at multiple levels. Lastly, the model reminds the testers about testability.

The first thing that struck me about this model is that it keeps the user in the forefront of the testing. The author reminds the reader that the worst person to test a program is the developer themselves. The “curse of expertise” puts the developer in the “underground” of the model while the users are living on the surface of the model, a different world compared to the world the developers are in.

Another interesting thing that struck me was that the model puts an emphasis on data. Just recently, in class, we did some work with a half-finished program and tested it using dummy data. What strikes me was that while testing there was little to no concern for what the data actually meant and we only cared in the program compiled and passed the tests, and the Round Earth method puts emphasis towards that data.

The last bit that struck me was that this model lends itself well to the analogy and that makes it easier for people to understand. While this isn’t necessarily helpful for a good model it is always helpful when trying to explain it to your colleagues for a second opinion!

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