Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why not start immediately with testing

A while ago I was asked why they couldn't start immediately with testing and have to think about conditions what to test.

I tried to explain it with finding a tree in the wood.

Imagine you are asked to find a tree with 20 branches of which one is 1.2 cm long. If you don't think how you are going to approach the trees you can walk towards the wood and from a distance of 100 meters you stand still. You investigate the trees based on the size of the branches. Soon you noticed certain logic in the growth of the trees. On the right front small trees are growing, at the back left large trees are growing. The number and size of branches are also separated on a similar basis. You don't walk into the wood as you will get lost, from closer distances all trees look like the same based on current conditions.

As you don't have the time or need to investigate further you answer the question positively and point that the tree should stand in the middle of all trees. Though you don't express you are not certain about this.

Isn’t this also what is asked when you have to test something, be positive sure if it works or not?

If you take the time to investigate further and take some other conditions like: kind of earth, season, kind of tree. You are able to search more directly. You are able to define the area you have to walk in the wood. As on yellow ground the trees are not growing that hard, due to the winter season the trees don't have leaves and since as you noticed that oaks had more trees around there it is more easier to decide and define you plan. You are now able to walk in a specific area and count the branches.

The chance that the deviation of your expectation is different from the result will be much smaller. You are able on a higher level of certainty that the tree is there or not.

So it could also bee with testing. If you start think about what conditions there are and might influence your expected result, take some time to think about this. You will be much certain on your advice then without doing this.

Perhaps this metaphor can help someone else also, as it helped explaining why to spend first more time on thinking and not actual testing.

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