A Deer in the Headlights

I was driving from Haaparanta to Oulu in the darkening evening. I have to admit that as a city-born person who has not driven many long distances in the dark my senses were wired up to the extreme. Someone could even say that I was tense.

While driving, I had a little thought experiment and suggest that you do the same. Imagine that you are driving a car. In the dark. No headlights. No street lights. No nothing. Just darkness. Afraid? No, you are not permitted to stop. You just need to keep on driving.

You know that you are driving and that the car is moving. You might even see how fast the car is going by looking at the speedometer, but you have no idea as to where you are. Not at least before you have crashed or driven into a ditch. Where are you going? Is there going to be a crossing? Are there going to be turns, or obstacles such as other cars, pedestrians, children, reindeer, moose etc. Should you lower the speed? Or turn the wheel?

Very few drive cars like that. They want to at least use the headlights, preferably even the high beams. Yet, many software projects drive in the misty night either completely dark, or with parking lights on, at the most they employ the headlights. I would call them foolhardy!

The mission of software testing is to provide information not only about the current state of affairs, but also of the dangers lurking ahead. The more different areas of testing you add to your software project, the more vital information you get. In your mind, are the headlights of your software project sufficient?

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