StarBase Blog


Are we smart enough?

I read a really interesting article in the Harvard Journal this morning. The author was writing about the growth in Artificial intelligence (AI) and he put forward some interesting stats:

Percentage of survey respondents who believe technology can capture deep smarts

Not at all 3%
Partially 71%
Mostly 22%
Almost Completely 4%

The author asked the question,

“… technology advances, will hard earned experience-based      knowledge become obsolete?”

Well, undoubtedly technology is built-in to almost everything we do and it’s getting smarter. In our specialist area of  testing, toolsets are being enhanced with high levels of automation and built-in smarts or being dumbed down, depending on your perspective.

But are these enhancements making for more effective testing, are they driving better, more robust information to the business, so they can properly assess the risks of going live? My view is no, well yes, BUT yes with a very big IF.

“But are these enhancements making for more effective Performance Testing?”

The automation and enhancements of the tools are great and can cut down time on a project, but only IF fully understood and applied appropriately in your projects’ specific circumstances. Blindly pressing buttons and accepting all the outputs as correct, without understanding what’s going on under the hood, will deliver highly questionable results, certainly not results I’d rely upon to make go live decisions.

Mike Wylde, one of our Technical Authority team, steeped in experience and know-how has recently written a couple of articles about this very subject, you can read them here, ‘Continue_on_Error……at your peril!’ and ‘Fat & Short v Thin & Long – Boot Camp for Unfit Scripts’.

We come across really complex systems which require performance testing, often we are called in when others have already tried and failed.

“…often we are called in when others have already tried and failed”

We leverage the collected knowledge of over 20 years of performance testing and apply it to the specific circumstances, using the most relevant toolsets.

We collect and store that knowledge every day as a resource available to all of our team, So when we come across difficulties and challenging complexity they can search and will find we have likely either dealt with it before or we have dealt with something similar and they can work up a solution, fast.

The complexity of the systems and applications we encounter and their bespoke nature means that the simple application of a toolset, no matter how smart, just won’t deliver what’s required. Intimacy with the application, the client issues and the desired outcomes combined with hard earned, experience-based knowledge are critical to both our success and our clients’.

Perhaps one day this knowledge can be built-in to the toolsets and technology we use to do our work.

But until then, I’ll make sure we capture every last scrap of knowledge our team builds and ensure it’s shared with them all to benefit the projects we deliver.

Author: Mark Adamson, Head of Operations, StarBase

Posted by:mark
Head of Operations, StarBase
Mark Adamson has responsibility for planning and driving continuous improvement in the operation of the business overall, focusing in particular on quality of service and solution delivery to clients. He enjoys working with smart people on interesting, challenging projects which can make a real difference to the success of our clients businesses. He also derives great satisfaction from helping graduate trainees develop into highly effective consultants.

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