And we’re all gonna shine a light together…..

…..All shine a light to light the way

It’s Eurovision week, so why not see where Software and/or Software Testing has its familiarities with the world’s biggest song contest?

Today’s six themes are:

  1. Wisdom at the top
  2. Politics
  3. Languages
  4. Variety
  5. Results
  6. Misconceptions

Wisdom at the top:

Jerry Weinberg and Jon Ola Sand.

Jerry Weinberg is one of, if not the, most respected and revered in (but not limited to) the testing community. When he speaks, we listen. He is widely read and quoted by many (myself included). Check out his vast library at

Jon Ola Sand is the European Broadcasting Union’s Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. Without his say so, the contest does not proceed. He always has a very awkward cameo in each show, to ratify the results before they are announced and has even been known to butt in and correct them live.

Politics: (Loose association)

dilbertI’m generalising here, but politics can be unavoidable, be it office politics, national or international.

In the office, it’s possible that testers have to do a bit of politicking to get the job done. The soft skills required to be a tester often are undersold in job specifications.


However hard they try, politics is never far from the Eurovision Song Contest. There are many examples of this, but Georgia’s 2009 entry ‘We Don’t Wanna Put In’ by 3G and Stephane was not allowed to compete as there was possibly subtle reference to a certain nation’s leader, with whom their own good nation had more than a few disagreements.


There are a lot of obscure languages out there, and so many can be found in testing. TCL, Python, C# are a few that come to mind that are more dominant.

I’d be interested to see some of those listed on the Esoteric programming language page on Wikipedia used in testing.

In Eurovision, English appears to be the primary language. Indeed, the presenters are required by the EBU to present in English and French. Since the rules changed to allow acts to choose any language to perform in, English has been the predominant language sung.

However, that hasn’t stopped some standout performances in other languages. Amaury Vassili represented France in 2011, with the song ‘Sognu’ in Corsican. Last year’s winner, Jamala, won for the Ukraine singing in Crimean Tatar (and English).


It takes all sorts to make a tester. It is rare to find testers with identical backgrounds and experience. I’ve  worked with testers who trained to be programmers, studied performance art, history or even hold an MBA.

It means that a well qualified person on paper, may not be an ideal candidate.

Eurovision takes all sorts, in fact often it is a different style of performance that ends up winning. We’ve seen rap in 1995 from Love City Groove (UK), to classic pop in 1974 with Abba (Sweden), rock in 2006 from Lordi (Finland) to a group of old ladies singing in 2012 Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia).

Cliff Richard failed in two attempts to win the competition!


Test results should be a clear reflection of the state of the software under test, but I have heard the integrity of the results challenged many times. I’ve even seen tests and results tweaked to achieve the desired result.


The results in Eurovision are an oft disputed topic among fans and detractors alike. The formula is often tweaked to attempt to achieve the desired ‘fair‘ outcome. We now have a 50/50 split between industry expert voting and public voting per participation country.

Boy, do those results take a long time to get through.


Do you find there are a few misconceptions about what the role of testing is in the SDLC?

There are countless examples of this from job titles (what is Quality Assurance anyway?) to responsibilities (should testers be the gate keepers or should that be the whole team?).


I don’t know how many people asked me if Brexit would mean that the UK wouldn’t be in Eurovision, but it is a great example of the competition’s misconceptions.

The EBU and the EU are not the same thing, thankfully. The EBU includes many nations that are not European (insert definition of European here). Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco are all EBU members, while Australia (associate member) are in their third year.

Blog post title lyrics from: Love shine a light – by Katrina and the Waves.

Find all the songs from my blog posts at this Spotify playlist.

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