Words are funny things. We use them to convey meaning – but there’s more to words than that. We also use words to try to change the way people view things. In real estate advertisements, for example, you see words like “rustic” used instead of “old”, or describe a home as “having character” when it really means the house is practically falling apart.
I find it interesting (or amusing, I can’t decide which) that testers play this game too. I know testers who avoid and replace words entrenched in the testing vocabulary with words that they think sound better – or in their “words”, words that convey a better meaning than the original. Other than diluting the testing vocabulary, I don’t really have a problem with this. If you want to call a boundary a fence-post or an edge, that’s fine. If you want to call it a termination endpoint, that’s fine too.
What really bugs me (believe me, I’ve had to edit the “bad” words out of this rant more than once already) is when people change the meanings as an attempt to raise the value of test, or show that test “has a seat at the table”, or is a “first-class citizen”. I have to tell you, I’m sick and tired of testers whining about not getting respect. If you want respect, you have to give respect and you have to earn respect. Using fancy words isn’t going to do it for you, but if you do your job and show value and stop trying to convince people you’re more valuable than you truly are, you’ll be fine. I know plenty of testers who do these things, and guess what – they have respect (and even admiration) from their peers in development. This is a huge peeve of mine, and unfortunately, one I deal with too frequently for my own mental well-being. Here’s a message for all testers – you aren’t going to earn respect by whining about the fact that you don’t have respect. Nothing, in fact, could be less effective. Knock it off and try something else. I’m this close to impersonating SteveB and throwing a chair through the window of our lovely test excellence offices.
I named this blog many years ago when I was “just” a test architect on the windows CE team at Microsoft. Finally, as I get to this point in the post I realize that I’ve finally written a post that reflects the blog title – or at least close if you consider a rant a word.