June 27, 2013

Moneyball and Bias in Testing

The topic of bias in testing practices, test planning, and interpreting results has been getting a lot of attention lately. From its possible roots in Michael Bolton’s 2007 STARWEST presentation on Emotions and Oracles, to Huib Schoots’ wonderful presentation and series of blog posts on what testing can learn from the social sciences, there is a growing acknowledgement that we approach our jobs and our teamwork with well-documented predispositions. I am happy to have picked up on the trend early, motivated primarily by the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, and having discovered Daniel Kahneman’s foundational work Thinking, Fast and Slow. I spent much of 2012 researching and talking about bias in testing at a variety of conferences, including STARWEST, TestKit, and Agile Testing Days. I gradually refined the presentation and delivered a version of it to some of my Seapine colleagues last fall. It’s now online with slides and audio at Slideshare. This presentation is a great place to start if you want to learn more about bias in testing and teamwork. This year I’m taking the next step to more closely tie bias concepts to testing practices and data interpretation. Look for my presentation “How Did I Miss That Bug?” at the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference in Portland, Oregon in October.