A long time ago I sent an email to James Bach with an idea that got me thinking. I'm not sure if it was wise or stupid idea, but what the hell! If it was stupid, then the question is for whom? Here is what I wrote to James and his reply on it,
Me: Last week after coming back from work I was sitting at my home and a thought crossed my mind. I couldn't help but think about the nature of water. I was thinking about how water takes the shape and color of the vessel that holds it. The next day I read your article on Test Jumpers and again it got me thinking. Like I wrote in my previous email to you about psychology that tester has to think like and understand the various stakeholders of the project and the end-user. Isn't that somewhat similar to water taking the shape and color of the vessel. That is when the term Aquatester popped into my mind.
I would like to know your thoughts on this.
James: Water doesn't really take the shape of the vessel that contains it, does it? That's like saying a crowd of people takes the shape of the container it is dwelling in. But no one says, "look at that crowd shaped like an airplane!" Instead they say "look at that airplane... hey there are probably people in it."
Water does not HAVE a shape. Another way of saying that is: if your convictions are whatever anyone says they are, then you HAVE no convictions.
I am not an aquatester-- because my work has a shape. It's a dynamic shape, but it is under my control, not under that of the vessel within which I work.
For a few days I simply accepted what James wrote back. But since couple of days I been doing some thinking on it.
Okay, so water doesn't take the shape of the vessel that contains it, but it does appear as if it does so and not just the shape but its color as well, and it does so without loosing its original characteristics of being shapeless and colorless. When you transfer water from one container to other it adjusts to the shape and color of that new vessel.
So as James makes a good point that a tester's work should be dynamic but still be under their control rather than the vessel's. I guess same is with water. It doesn't really have a shape or color but it shows to have it without loosing its original properties.
Similarly, a tester can also blend in well with the other stakeholders of a software project, like the developers, analysts, business people and more. Tester can get to know them well and try to look at the software from their perspective with loosing their basic properties like curiosity, investigative nature, critical thinking, etc. This way a tester can enhance his/her understanding of the software under test. This way tester's work will be dynamic and under their control, plus it will also help the tester understand how the other stakeholders work and think. With this knowledge tester will be able to share their investigation information in a better way so that those various stakeholders can understand with ease and help solve their problem if they get stuck at some point in their work.
It can also be thought of as testers being spies who really blend in with anybody to extract valuable information. The Aquatester will get along with the other stakeholders to extract valuable information about the software to help with their investigation.
So, any thoughts?