Sunday, March 09, 2008

Software testing FAQ no. 26

What is the future of software testing?

That question came from someone called John Major. I remember a fellow called John Major predicting that the introduction of the minimum wage would lead to the collapse of the UK economy. It was one of many predictions he made that turned out to be wrong. Another was that the Conservative party would win the 1997 election . In fact, they lost, securing 165 seats to the Labour oarty's 418.

Predicting the future is a brave activity. Particularly if you publish it and you can be measured against like the former PM JM. Knowing the dangers, are there people who dare to predict the future of software testing? There certainly are. There are a mass of authoritative sounding articles going back to last century that can easily be found on the web. Hats off to the authors. Those that have made specific predictions that should be in place now can be measured on the accuracy of their vision and praised or mocked accordingly. Of course there are a mass of vague software testing predictions that can't be measured and these authors should just be mocked.

The part I enjoyed most of the predictions I read was looking at the current context at the time they were written, like this one. It's a quote attributed to Bill Gates (yes the Microsoft one) bemoaning the amount of time spent testing software and the lack of automated testing solutions. The quote is from 1996, the year before John Major's inaccurate election prediction. You'd hope that with the level of dissatisfaction he expressed that masses would have happened since then, given the might of Microsoft. Well, I recently attended a presentation by a software testing industry analyst and guess what he predicted. That software testing automation would be the next big area of improvement in software testing. I guess that it must be one of those time independent predictions.

So the short answer is I don't know the future of software testing. In fact, nobody really knows the future of software testing. But a lot of people think they do.