Testing is like a platypus

25-minute Talk

Embracing inconsequentialism can help us as testers to deal with an imperfect world of software development where we are in search of the unknown unknowns.

Virtual Pass session


4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Tuesday 14th


Room F2 - Track 2: Talks


everyone interested in testing


  • learn the principles of inconsequentialism
  • the relation between inconsequentialism and testing
  • how to apply inconsequentialism in testing

let inconsequentialism enlighten you

Skilled testers are used to explore the unknown unknowns, a daunting task that is comparable to finding the holy grail. Despite the challenge, we strive to overcome it by utilizing unexpected angles, and different associations and seeking inspiration. Our ultimate goal is to challenge the illogical nature of the code's creator. However, once our testing is completed, we return to the rational realm of management where we are held accountable for our actions. We are trained to present a consistent and coherent story about our testing, but is there a narrative to describe the luck we encountered, the irrational actions we took, and how we tied it all together?

No, that is why I challenge the audience to embrace inconsequentialism, an alternative approach that acknowledges the imperfect nature of testing. The presentation may (of course) not follow a perfectly logical structure 😉, but it offers insights into how to navigate in an imperfect world. There are several guiding principles that support inconsequentialism, and we will explore how they apply to testing. For example, the principle that "in practice, almost anything is somewhat possible" is something that we, as testers, are well aware of. We often encounter situations where developers have told us that specific scenarios will never happen, only for us to discover that they can and do occur.

Another guiding principle is that "you are like a platypus that always manages to escape every categorization just a little bit." Our testing results are often difficult to categorize, much like the unique characteristics of a platypus. While the attendees may feel puzzled after the session, I hope that they also feel enlightened and ready to continue their journey of discovering the unknown.

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