….get ready, get steady, and rhumble.

Ok, so the links between old songs and the theme of the blogs continue, I apologise, but I’ll continue.


I am unashamedly enthusiastic about my family, my job, what I do with my time, where I go and what I find truly gripping. Inspiration can come from all walks of life, and late on Sunday night, I was motivated to write this blog.

The subject, another crossover observation (see my previous blog on crossover of church and software development, here), but this time the crossover is none other than pro wrestling and automation, because we can learn from anything, right?

I was watching the WWE Royal Rumble and this is the outcome. So, I’ve broken it down into eight subjects, this is a broad brushstroke across it, but hopefully stimulating:

  1. Milestones
  2. Evolution
  3. Nay sayers
  4. Passionate evangelists
  5. Rules
  6. Observations
  7. Misconceptions
  8. Conclusion

Milestones

While the wrestling calendar is changeable, there are some mainstays. WWE operate on an annual build up to their biggest event Wrestlemania, other organisations are available, such as NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom or TNA’s Bound for Glory.

What these events represent are (hopefully) the culmination of weeks, months, even years of build-up to a (hopefully, again) satisfactory climax and conclusion to a storyline. These events are when more eyes are on the product than at any other time in the cycle.

In software, we look to have satisfied the testing requirements on a product prior to release. We have stories that build, ebb and flow throughout the product life-cycle before final execution and eventual final release to the masses.

*other observations are:

  • it’s scripted, but those scripts need to be maintained and updated accordingly.
  • there should be consistency across the board, but that’s not always the case.
  • sometimes stories inexplicably end and are dropped, never to meet a satisfactory conclusion.

Evolution

Wrestling today is not like it was in the past. I grew up with Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan feuding and it was magical, but if I watch it today, it is a tad low rent in all honesty. If the product was the same today as it was then, it would likely be out of business by now, embracing change is the only way.

In the same way, there are so many new wrestling organisations, to meet the needs of the different fans, for whom the headline product just doesn’t cut the mustard. Shout out to ICW in particular.

Automation tools have to move with the time or they risk being made redundant very quickly. Whether that’s drivers, .net support, OS compatibility or target market. Software developers, while sometimes fiercely loyal, can also be fickle (which I think is an oxy moron, please correct me if I’m wrong), if the tool doesn’t meet their needs, they’ll find a new one, or make their own tool.

*other observations are:

  • A different setting, will have different needs and requirements, just because it works in one setting, doesn’t mean that it will work elsewhere.
  • Obsolescence can be overcome with a little creativity and freedom.
  • Legacy, if shoved down our throats can grate and put people off, the same with predictability.

Nay sayers

Have you ever met someone who things that pro wrestling is utter tosh? I bet you have, heck you probably think so yourself.

There are an awful lot of people who feel the same about automation.

Does this mean that the nay sayers are wrong? That they’re just out of touch?

Maybe, but I doubt it. It’s all a little subjective.

Either way, it can be very difficult to convince these people otherwise, convert if you will…..

Passionate evangelists

…this invariably leads to the natural opposite, the passionate evangelists. Those who are hell-bent on automating everything in sight.

Not only will they promise the world, but they’ll try and sweep you up in all the excitement. Just like they pro wrestling fan who you see on the edge of their seat, wearing their fresh new merchandise, cheering for the babyfaces, booing the heels, total marks!

Enthusiasm is contagious and a wonderful thing, that passion can go a very long way.

But, maybe it’s just me be a bit of a realist, but I see pro wrestling and automation for what they are and where they fit into my life, and where they might have limits.

Pro wrestling cannot be my main focus for entertainment, not least because any spare leisure time that I have, I share with my wife and she could not care any less about pro wrestling, seriously!

Automation has its place too, in the cycle of testing, I enjoyed reading Viktor Slavchev‘s take on this in his blog The non-manual, unautomated tester.

Neither is the be all and end all.

Rules

What do we get when we code without rules? Code that no one wants to work on, or that no one knows how it works. The kind of thing that people say is bin-worthy and should be started all over again.

Automation works when there are rules, good practices, sensible practices that others can follow.

Pro wrestling sometimes has some pretty flaky rules, and for the most part, any gimmick matches that were hard to follow have been consigned to history. But, if you’re truly interested in something that is a terrible examples, take a look at WhatCulture Wrestling‘s article.

It’s bad and cringe-worthy.

Observers

I’ve already mentioned WhatCulture Wrestling, they have a fairly tongue-in-cheek approach to things, but there are some truly serious and dedicated commentators on pro wrestling. Some of these are highly regarded, such as Dave Meltzer others not so much. But, if there’s an opinion that you have, you can probably find one to support yours online.

There are some heavily polarised opinions on automation and wider software testing out there too. Where to look for inspiration and balanced opinion is hard these days.

With targeted clickbait and news that some wonderful algorithm out there has picked out for me, no wonder there’s such a smorgasbord of opinion out there.

Wisdom dictates that a balanced digest from different sources will help you to find your own place and where you stand. So read, a lot, educate yourself and find where you stand.

Maybe that’s a little deep for a blog that’s talking about pro wrestling and automation?

I digress.

Misconceptions

I’ve touched upon this already, but I’ll say it again, 100% test automation is not possible. If all your tests are automated, what are you testing? What do the testers do with their time? Where is the dynamism? The intuition? What makes a tester, test?

Pro wrestling isn’t real? Well, I think they’re really wrestling, I know they’re really strong and I know they get really hurt. Yes, they may have predetermined endings, but I guarantee they hurt.

*more observations:

  • Some wrestling is performed so badly, yes your grandma could probably do a better job.
  • Some automation is a massive waste of time and a maintenance nightmare. Why do we automate? What is the end goal? We should plan for what the requirements are.

Conclusion

Thanks for making it to the end.

My final thoughts on this are:

  • Legacy is important, but we have to move on, nostalgia is the only reason Ric Flair was still around for so long, no one wanted to actually see him wrestle.
  • Automation, as was, even five years ago, has moved on. We have to update, maintain, evolve our automation to stay relevant.
  • The biggest name isn’t always the best.
    • Hulk Hogan was not the best wrestler. We’re not all supposed to have the same favourite.
    • LabVIEW is a wonderful test tool, but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the best solution for me. Find a tool that meets your requirements, once you know your requirements and not the other way around.
  • It doesn’t matter if you think something might be embarrassing, your thoughts are valuable, your passions are what make you who you are and that is something to be celebrated.
  • Crow Sting was my wrestling hero.
  • Michael Bolton is a testing hero, he wears nice hats too.
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