Viking hoards & software testing

Did you catch the story of the fascinating discovery of an intact Viking hoard ? If you missed the story, the short version is that a dad and his son who have a hobby of using metal detectors to search about found a Viking hoard. A Viking hoard is a collection of artifacts. This particular collection consisted of rare coins and singular silver vessel and some other items.

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So how does the discovery of a Viking hoard tie into software testing? Notice the skills required to find, to handle, and turn over the hoard in such a way that the discovery lost no value.

• awareness
• detection
• curiosity
• persistence
• patience
• respect for the find

And this quote from one report is what led me to point out this story: “…conservators carefully excavated each find to avoid damaging the individual objects or losing important contextual information.”

What a great quote.

One habit that has become deeply ingrained in me is this – when I crash a system, I pull my hands of the keyboard, I observe the details on the screen – if there are any bits left to see, and I start writing as quickly as I can – especially if I’ve not been writing good notes while testing (which I try hard to be good about). Essentially I try to preserve what I can so that I can avoid damaging the evidence and so that I can turn over my discovery as complete and sound as possible. See you can learn things about software testing from Viking hoards.

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