Two Laws and a new article

I put this out in a private correspondence yesterday and thought it was worth repeating here:

Heusser’s first rule of ethics: When someone ends a proposal with the statement “… and it’s all legal!” they are saying that because it probably /should/ be illegal. Don’t work with them.

Heusser’s first law of guru-ness: To be a guru you don’t actually need to be smart, insightful, or even be able to write very well. All you need is to work in a field that has high turnover and a general inferiority complex, work on a sticky meme, be single, and willing to devote your nights and weekends to self-promotion.

Let add: This doesn’t mean that all people who talk about software testing or development are charlatans, crooks, liars, or not very bright. Far from it. I just mean to say that we can’t sit back and suck in ideas uncritically. We’ll have to actually examine the arguments about our field, hold them up to the light of day, challenge them and see if they stick. To put it differently: We have to test the ideas in software testing. I wouldn’t have it any other way; would you?

Hey, speaking of gurus, continues to publish interviews I had with speakers at the Agile2009 conference. This next one is from Gerard Meszaros, author of “xUnit Test Patterns“. In it, I ask about developer-facing tests, how they relate to customer-facing tests, and the future of Agile-Testing. You can read the interview here.

My colleague, Markus Gaetner, continues to be of great help in creating and reviewing these documents. In this one, he contributed a large section of the introductory paragraph. Markus is a student of mine in the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing – which is not a paradigm but an actual School. I run Miagi-do free, non-profit and non-commerical. I have no statistics on how Miagi-Do increases job prospects or gives out raises. Instead, my students are actually /like/ to do testing and want to get better at it. More about that some other time.

2 comments on “Two Laws and a new article

  1. Corollaries to Heusser's First Law of Gurus: Being called a guru indicates that you are good at something, but it is no indication that you are good at your job.

    I am often called a guru. I use that as motivation to earn the respect that people have recklessly and ignorantly extended to me.

  2. I wanted to comment on this blog post because there is something in it that speaks to me.

    There are some people who put themselves out there in the testing community as a way to teach, some who do so as a way to get small scale fame, some who do it just to argue, and some want to build a writing and consulting business.

    I wanted to earn a place at the table. I wanted to earn a mentor. And more than that, I wanted to stand up for thoughtful human evaluation of software as what a value most about the software I work on is at risk and I felt like I alone was not enough, so for me I need more ideas and help with my ideas to make them stronger. In fact, I only wrote my first paper because it was required to speak at PNSQC and I really wanted to go there and to CAST to talk to other people about this problem I face. About the perceptions of testing being so far off from what really is working.

    So, I would say that smart compelling content with real passion behind it always wins over marketing BS long term. By that, I mean if what you are selling actually WORKS and makes sense and is a unique idea, and I'm partly talking about James Bach even though I think he loves to argue with smart people as part of his motivation, you'll be around even if you don't "take off" and you get to keep your morals (bonus!).

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