Rob Lambert: The Social Tester

Creative Director at the Software Testing Club, Rob Lambert always has something to say about testing. Lambert regularly blogs at TheSocialTester where he engages his readers with test cases, perspectives and trends.

“Because It’s Always Been Done This Way”

Study the following (badly drawn) image and see if there is anything obvious popping in to your head.

Now, you’ve probably got hundreds of questions going through your mind about testing, etc. But I want to draw your attention to the security and the value that this security is protecting. Let me backfill the story.

I went to a major electrical goods chain here in the UK. I wanted to buy a hard drive. I saw the one I wanted, behind the glass in the locked and secure glass cabinet. I asked the assistant if I could have one and it took her about 2 or 3 minutes to find the keys. It then took her about 2 minutes to open the cabinet, get the disk out and then lock it all back I then scanned just the two meter shelf next to the cabinet and it had about £3000 of Routers and Switches.

The glass cabinet had items that ranged between £30 and £89.49. Yet the shelf had items that ranged between £30 and £109.10.

It didn’t really make sense to me. If I were the store manager, I would be looking to secure the most expensive and valuable stock. Wouldn’t you? So I asked the lady why this was the case.

She said “Because it’s always been done that way. I guess I’d never thought to question it”.

I asked whether hard drives were the most stolen of items, fishing to see whether high targeted products were being secured over high value products. The lady didn’t know. I tried to find some stats but failed. I suspect it’s not got much to do with it.

The lady said that many displays, concepts and ideas came from head office and remained that way even if they were ineffective. It’s because it’s always been done like that… I guess.

And so I draw the comparison to testing, product design, feature sets and anything else we may ever get involved with in our daily work.

Why keep doing something when it is ineffective? Why spend months writing test documentation that no one reads? Why spend months writing test cases in minute detail to have to re-write them when you see the final product? Why always concentrate your security testing on the software when in reality the user is the biggest security gap? Why keep reporting that metric when no-one needs it?

Why not challenge the norm? The ineffective? The old rules and processes?

Why not suggest new and interesting ways of doing things? Why not improve or tweak processes for changing circumstances?

“Because it’s always been done that way”.

Do you have compelling reasons to leave something ineffective in place? Please let me know.


Email Rob Lambert at


Mark Levison

Creative Director at the Software Testing Club, Rob Lambert always has something to say about testing. Lambert regularly blogs at TheSocialTester where he engages his readers with test cases, perspectives and trends.
“Because It’s Always Been Done This Way”
Study the following (badly drawn) image and see if there is anything obvious popping in to your head.

Mark Levison
Mark Levison has over twenty years experience in the IT industry, working as a developer, manager, technical lead, architect, and consultant.

The Related Post

LogiGear Magazine – May 2011 – The Test Process Improvement Issue
This article was developed from concepts in the book Global Software Test Automation: Discussion of Software Testing for Executives. Introduction When thinking of the types of Software Testing, many mistakenly equate the mechanism by which the testing is performed with types of Software Testing. The mechanism simply refers to whether you are using Manual or ...
  Explore It! is one of the very best software testing books ever written. It is packed with great ideas and Elisabeth Hendrickson’s writing style makes it very enjoyable to read. Hendrickson has a well-deserved reputation in the global software testing community as someone who has the enviable ability to clearly communicate highly-practical, well-thought-out ideas. ...
People rely on software more every year, so it’s critical to test it. But one thing that gets overlooked (that should be tested regularly) are smoke detectors. As the relatively young field of software quality engineering matures with all its emerging trends and terminology, software engineers often overlook that the software they test has parallels ...
Think you’re up for a challenge? Print this word search out! See if you can find all the words and learn a few new software testing terms in the process. To see how you’ve done, check your answers in the answer key below. *You can check the answer key here.
This article was adapted from a presentation titled “How to Turn Your Testing Team Into a High-Performance Organization” to be presented by Michael Hackett, LogiGear Vice President, Business Strategy and Operations, at the Software Test & Performance Conference 2006 at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, Massachusetts (November 7 – 9, 2006). Introduction Testing is often looked ...
Most have probably heard the expression ‘less is more‘, or know of the ‘keep it simple and stupid‘ principle. These are general and well-accepted principles for design and architecture in general, and something that any software architect should aspire to. Similarly, Richard P. Gabriel (a major figure in the world of Lisp programming language, accomplished poet, and currently ...
Plan your Test Cases with these Seven Simple Steps What is a mind map? A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. It can be called a visual thinking tool. A mind map allows complex information to be presented in a simplified visual format. A mind map is created around a single ...
As I write this article I am sitting at a table at StarEast, one of the major testing conferences. As you can expect from a testing conference, a lot of talk and discussion is about bugs and how to find them. What I have noticed in some of these discussions, however, is a lack of ...
In software testing, we need to devise an approach that features a gradual progression from the simplest criteria of testing to more sophisticated criteria. We do this via many planned and structured steps, each of which brings incremental benefits to the project as a whole. By this means, as a tester masters each skill or area ...
Introduction Many companies have come to realize that software testing is much more than a task that happens at the end of a software development cycle. They have come to understand that software testing is a strategic imperative and a discipline that can have a substantial impact on the success of an organization that develops ...
Introduction Keyword-driven testing is a software testing technique that separates much of the programming work of test automation from the actual test design. This allows tests to be developed earlier and makes the tests easier to maintain. Some key concepts in keyword driven testing include:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the loop with the lastest
software testing news