Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why the 'Garage'?

I got a question while talking to one my friend and colleague, why the 'Garage' and 'Testing Garage'? I was thrilled hearing that question. Four years back, I asked for meaning of a word and why this product is called by that word. And that product was in market for almost 3 years i.e. before I started my professional testing career. Today it is getting sold successfully probably bringing good revenue. Finally I did not know why the product was called by that word and what it meant. Later I got an opportunity to meet the global technology chief of the organization of that time and asked him the same question. I did not get an answer except saying "It does not have any meaning." which in turn made me to ask "then why that name?” Let me stop this here. The same with software products I have tested so far, most of the time I did not get answer why was it is called by that name. I do not want to assume myself what that name mean without knowing the actual one, and why it is used; you see the testing begins right with name of the software product being tested and knowing its purpose of existence and for whom, with a question "why should I test this?". Hope you know now, why I was thrilled when my friend asked me about word ‘garage’ in Testing Garage.

Back to garage, Testing Garage. My father repaired his cycle and I use to watch sitting beside him. Near to my home, shops usually called 'cycle shops' that repaired, serviced, rented and sold the cycles exists. Still my father use to repair cycle for himself. I use to ask him, are you a mechanic while he removed parts of his cycle. Today he repairs his scooter for himself most of the time and I keep watching it.

Now what my father did was few observations or inferences while riding his cycle or scooter. He felt something unusual; maybe he compared and evaluated the differences. Inferred something is not as expected or unusual from how it was or how it should be. Later he continued to evaluate with experiments then made a decision what actually the problem is that brought in the differences. What he did here was 'Testing' and while he fixed the problems he thought how this may cause difference again. But whatever he did to fix difference, it gave birth to new differences or brought back same differences gradually.

After seeing father repairing the cycle I wanted to see how big vehicles would get repaired. I went to garage with my father which use to service ambassador car and scooter. I saw the mechanics heard the words of customer and started to look into the vehicle asking questions to customer. Again here what mechanic did was not just comparison, but evaluation too.

I made few common observations here. Both my father and mechanic used tools when needed and they used their ears and senses together with replies of other concerned people to know what they are making out. Tools were used when needed and they were spread out on the floor in garage. Father asked me to pedal cycle and use to watch the differences before and after fix. At garage mechanics use to analyze and talk to each other and one use to say this is the problem; probably maybe he was a chief mechanic there at that time. At home father talked to me while repairing the cycle. We shared and my father trusted my words and questioned while I pedaled cycle. In garage, mechanics and customers communicated about the problem by trust with questions to each other and customer who had a concern.

An interesting observation what I made is, father used same tool for different repair and also said that to his friends in repairing their cycle. Looks like I made similar observation with mechanic in garage too. They invented new ways of using the same tool when they needed it. To repair a cycle the tools used were not just made of metal but things like stone, a broom stick, piece of cloth, a rope etc. were used as tools. Garage too had such tools apart from metal tools. Things available around us were used as tools depending on the situation while the cycle was repaired.

I was attracted by this for:
  • Working in pair when required amplified learning, problem identification and solving skills. This was evident for me in garage and repairing a cycle at home.
  • Brought new radical ideas while fixing the problem in the conversational talk. These ideas brought primal changes sometimes which satisfied the customer or concerned person.
  • A skilled mechanic had an objective to know the problem and to fix the problem; focus of mechanic on this was evident.
  • A mechanic evaluates and assesses his or her progress while servicing and make sure that expected is being carried out.
  • I figured out skilled mechanic using strategies with a plan, while trying to know the problem and/or cause of the problem in a vehicle.
  • Mechanic relied upon human skills rather than thinking or saying this cannot be done without a tool. Existing tool or things available around were reinvented as new tools. But tool alone did not do task; a human was needed to do the task and analyze it. Tools helped mechanic to make the job bit simpler.
  • Previous experiences and relative knowledge or information of other repair and problem which is not related to garage or vehicle, was used in evaluation before repair and after repair on comparison using as reference.
  • In garage, reference point or reference source(s) or history of earlier services, played a role in assessing the problem that can come up from service given.
  • At some point the assessment was done just to fix the difference that was seen in vehicle or cycle. But there was no further work or brain bite to know what other problems may persists or may come up, except the checks and tests made for the repair done or service given for then. This was obvious from work and to be noted here.
  • But to identify the existing unusual difference or problem in vehicle or cycle, investigation carried out was interesting to me. This investigation had several tests and not just checks from comparison or reference source.
  • Environment in garage was maintained every day to attend the customers who came up with the (different) problem and different vehicles.
  • Detail of what the problem was and service or fix given to vehicle, was said to customer.
  • In short, mechanic worked technically to provide information and a fix for problem(s) that was known or unknown for concerned person(s).
  • Sometimes decision of mechanic worked. But the final word on quality of work was from customer. Decision at last is in hands of concerned person or customer. Noticed that words of skilled mechanic influenced decision of a customer.
  • Looks like problem or risk was for a person who used a vehicle. But that problem could bring threat to others too on roads. Hence problem cannot be denied with vehicle here as how we cannot deny a problem in software application.
  • In a skilled mechanic, I saw a tester who tried variations by questioning customer to know the problem(s). Though mechanic tested the service given for vehicle, it did not stop problems coming up.
  • In garage, customer defined “Job well done” on using the vehicle which was serviced by mechanic(s).

Relating mechanic at garage with a tester testing software application:
  • Skilled tester will have an objective or goal of testing, while testing.
  • A tester evaluates her or his progress while testing and evaluates that with the objective of testing.
  • A tester makes use of strategies to bring out effective tests that justifies the objective of testing.
  • Being a tester when I worked by pairing with other tester or people, I learned and observed much more. This improved in identifying the problem and issues.
  • The lab, desk and thoughts of tester will have several tools along with tester.
  • I observed testers using tools to help their testing and analyzed the work after using the tool too. This was very same with mechanics in garage.
  • Each tester evaluated response or behavior of software application, based on comparison using a reference source or point. Later application was evaluated to assess probable problems in using it. It was interesting to see how the problems of other fields brought ideas to test software application upon relating them.
  • Lab and test environment was maintained to identify the problems that are not so obvious or easy to identify. Also lab or test machine was maintained to simulate the problems that customer brings out in an overnight.
  • Investigated to find the probable cause of the particular known problem and its symptoms.
  • Tested to assess the problems after fixing the existing problem and its symptoms.
  • Test report gave the coverage and observations made during the testing for people who are concerned about the software application.
  • Tester conducted investigation to assess possible problems underlying or unknown or known for making better decision by concerned people.
  • Decision was made by concerned people and not by tester. Information from tester influenced decision of concerned people.
  • Whatever the test and coverage was achieved with modeling, problems still come up in software.
  • Customer defined how the product is and said “Job well done” by TEAM, on using the software.
Likewise, I can make several relative things in a skilled mechanic working at a garage and a tester testing software. Hence I keep word ‘Garage’ with word ‘Testing’ which reads as ‘Testing Garage’.


  1. Hahaha.
    I did not know when did I finish reading and all I knew was just started to read this post. Was like people and play in front of my eyes.

    'you see the testing begins right with name of the software product being tested and knowing its purpose of existence and for whom, with a question "why should I test this?".'... lol this is not nonsense, in fact it makes a sense that has to be carried out.

    Give many more posts for your readers.JJJ


  2. @Joe,


    For now, I do not know how to respond to your words. I see many more areas where I need to improve in my writing and craft.

    Glad to know you read this post.

    Thank you,


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