What better way is there to celebrate a milestone than speaking with a living legend? Gerald Weinberg has been developing and testing software for over 50 years, and was one of the engineers who worked on the first American NASA space program (Project Mercury), where he designed and implemented the space tracking network focusing on the first multi-programmed operating systems.
Jerry has also written more than 30 books including some of my favorites: Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, Perfect Software And Other Illusions About Testing, and Becoming a Technical Leader.
You don’t want to miss this episode – it’ll be like listening to a real Obi Wan Kenobi … or Yoda!
Simply put, Gerald M. Weinberg is a living software engineering legend. He was the architect for NASA’s Mercury Project‘s space tracking network and designer of the world’s first multi-programmed operating system.
With over 50 years’ experience in developing and testing, Jerry has taught companies around the world and trained thousands of folks in his workshops on how to create better software.
Jerry is also a well-known author who has published over 40 books and more than 400 articles. Some of his most popular books (including The Psychology of Computer Programming and Introduction to General Systems Thinking) are considered modern day classics and are a must-read for anyone involved with software development.
Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk
- Maybe the secret is, a sort of middle level, is stop looking for secrets and just figure out one little improvement at a time. Get rid of things that are using your time that are not productive and that you don’t like to do. Part of it is you have to love what you’re doing and if you don’t love it, then it’s pretty hard to bring yourself back to it.
- I guess that’s the secret of being productive if there is a secret, is adapt to what is as opposed to what should be or whatever and of course another way to describe testing is that it’s finding out what actually is as opposed to what’s supposed to be. Program is supposed to work in a certain way and the tester finds out oh it doesn’t work in that way. When you report that then somebody does something about if and you live your life the same way you’ll be pretty productive.
- I think that you need to highlight certain things, like I need to just sit down and talk with the developers and ask them what went on, what happened, what was interesting and so on in an informal way. This gives you a lot of clues where you might be having trouble.
- We made the first separate testing group that I know of historically I’ve never found another for that Mercury project because we knew astronauts could die if we had errors.We took our best developers and we made them into a group, it’s job was to see that that didn’t happen. They build test tools and all kinds of procedures and went through all kinds of thinking and so on. The record over half a century shows that they were able to achieve a higher level of perfection but it wasn’t quite perfect then, had never been achieved before since.
- You can automate part tasks that are involved in testing and maybe many tests and save yourself a lot of efforts and do things very reliably, and that’s great. It doesn’t do the whole job.
- The little trick I give people is that when you find yourself saying, “Well that’s one thing I don’t need to know about,” then stop, catch yourself and go and know about that, because it’s exactly like the finger pointing that we talked about before, when the developer says, “Well that’s a module you don’t need to look at,” that’s the one you look at first. You do the same thing yourself say, “That’s a skill I don’t need, it has nothing to do with testing,” then it does and you better work on it.
Connect with Gerald
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