Thanks Steve

A little on the late side but I did want to do a post on thanking Steve Jobs and what he did for me personally.

I’ve wanted an Apple ever since the original Apple II. My first Mac I ever saw was actually an Apple Lisa at my fathers design department. They were using it for CAD with a whopping 5MB Winchester drive. But the world turned out a bit differently. I never got to having an Apple II or a Mac.

Only in 2004, when we immigrated to NZ did we shell out for a MacMini and enter Steve’s world. Today we own several Macs, have had many more, have iPhones, iPods and are 101% Apple followers. We’ve never looked back.

But what has that got to do with a testing?

As it turns out there is/was someone at Apple which had a relentless drive for quality and usability. Now as you can easily guess that person is/was Steve Jobs (still struggling with the was here!). This drive is pervasive in all Apple products.

Again! What has that to do with my testing?

Ever since switching I have been confronted daily with something that works and gives me the power to do what I want. I have been using Windows PC’s for decades and have used Linux for nearly a decade and on no system have I felt this kind of empowerment. Empowerment, usability, friendliness, quality, ease of use, performance, craft, art, predictability and many more adjectives are what I use to describe Apple’s soft & hardware. And nobody can dispute that that is Steve’s footprint right there delivering all these things.

That is -fellow testers- what I took away, the ability to expect more. To be able to discern when something is badly made, unpractical, riddled with defects and plain unusable and to call it out. Steve has given me a new base reference I measure against. I now do care how many clicks something takes or if menus make sense or if screens and messages are understandable or not. The IT world has been badly served by most of it’s masters in that we are complacent and accept the bad quality and lack of proper thought when delivering IT to our customers. I can see it in the deliveries I get from developers. I can see it in the lack of criticism by testers. I can see it in the products that exist. No, the requirements are not the only source of truth. You are.

That means we should call out if something gets developed and is absolutely unusable or just plain wrong, even if requirements are met or the customer asked for it. Raise it as a defect! Raise a defect for things that annoy you, that you don’t want to live with. Or put yourself in the business users shoes and ask yourself if he/she would want that. Take a step back and look at the creation. Could it be better? Should it be better? Dare to ask the fundamental questions and act upon them. Steve Jobs has shown us all that thought and a relentless drive for quality can make you immensely successful. I’m not saying that all testers should now rebel against the establishment but I am pledging for common sense and reason to be used more readily and don’t be dissuaded by “it’s not in the specs/requirements/whatever”. That just means you have to find a logical, reasonable and good for the defect to be fixed (btw, one of those reasons should include why it makes $ sense!).

So that is what Steve did for me. He made me a royal -testing- pain in the bu**.

….and that is a very good thing, that I will always be thankful for.

RIP Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Author: Oliver Erlewein

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