Let’s Test Conference is the first conference in Europe on context driven testing – it looks like it will be a really great event. I’ll be there, speaking on day 2 about one of my favorite subjects: Black swans – things that happen, even though everyone thinks they can’t:
Nassim Taleb introduced the concept of Black Swans in his influental 2007 book: Rare events, in principle extremely unlikely, but very dangerous – and they occur much more often than we expect.IT incidents are true Black Swans. Incidents are tricky to test for, and this is probably why they are rarely treated exploratorily in testing.
I would like to see that change, since with increasing complexity and the ubiqtous nature of IT systems, failures in todays’ IT systems are much more consequential than they used to be, and incidents are frequently the cause of great losses; in some systems they even put human lives at risk.
I will present my view on the ”art” of testing for system incidents. My view diverts fundamentally from the non-functional tests, robustness tests, and performance tests which are often carried out. Instead, and based on a systems perspective, I will introduce heuristics and models which will allow explorative testing and learning – even in the Black Swan Domain. There are no bullet proof ways to do it, but by understanding the nature of incidents and by being able to identify vulnerabilities in the context in which testing is taking place, I beleive that you as a tester will be better able to focus your exploration and observation on what’s important: The system vulnerabilities.
Let’s meet there!