Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting the right tools

There should be a saying “tools maketh the man” or woman (obviously). If your workman has the wrong tools, you know you've going to get a slap-dash job.

Same goes with testing.

Recently I moved into a house with an extensive sloping garden – which is all a bit new to me.

Going around my garden centre I knew a lawnmower would be unsuitable – I noticed two brands of item which both seemed to do the same thing – lawn trimmers and weed hackers.

They look similar – both have a cord that spins around at speed. Lawn trimmers cost $50, weed hackers £250.

No contest then – I went out to buy me a lawn trimmer.

Man it sucked – it took about 5 hours to do the garden in hour sprints. Exhausting – the cable kept breaking. Nightmare.

Then – and only then someone explained to me – a line trimmer has a 300W motor, a weed hacker a 1300W motor, and uses thicker cable. Tutting a bit, I bought a weed hacker – and to my surprise found I did the same in an hour as I did in 5!

We've all had this experience with our test tools too. There are a host of tools out there at different prices.

Often it seems management will look at a couple of tools, but always desire the one that's cheapest – understandable – I did the same with my “lawn solution”. But as I learned to my cost, it can be a false economy, underperforming and taking longer to use.

Freeware has it's place, and as a tester I'm happy that it's there to fall back on. Alas sometimes management seems not to understand why the stuff you download for free doesn't deliver the efficiency, features and performance of the stuff you pay for ...

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