Saturday, July 01, 2006

Software testing FAQ - No. 18

How many aliens attended a user acceptance testing training course in the UK in 2005?

That question was sent in by James Morrison Weatherby George Dupree, who, incidentally, claims that his mother was abducted by aliens while going down to the end of the town.
As with all software testing activities I need to make sure that I understand the requirement here. By aliens do you mean people who are not subjects of the UK? Or do you mean beings from another planet?
If it is former, then I expect the number is quite large as the UK provides some excellent training courses in user acceptance testing. (Frequent question asker Oliver Letwin has sent in a formula to calculate the probable number based on a bewildering multitude of factors. Using his algorithm, the answer came out as between 50 – 500,000.)
If it is the type of alien that set Buck Rogers' pulse a racing, then I would estimate a lower number; probably zero. To be more precise than this, I would need to know the attributes that differentiate aliens from non-aliens. Some claim that there are alien life forms that look, sound and smell like attendees of acceptance testing courses. Some suggest the converse is true, demonstrating the need for precise tests and keen observation. If only Dr Smith were not still lost in space I am sure we would have this suite of tests freely available today.