Saturday, June 6, 2009

Blocking your nurture

What do you do when a person ask you a question? Do you try to answer it immediately or ask an own question to get more information about the purpose?
What do you do when a person explains a problem? Do you try to solve it or ask form more information?

It is in my nature to help people. If a person asks me the time I look at my watch and tells him what is on my watch. If I forgot my watch I look around to check if I see a clock. If no means are available to tell the exact time I try to estimate the time. It is so simple and obvious to respond automatically to triggers we have done before using experience and knowledge we gained before.

The question is: did this help the person? When someone asks for the time and you give the time it seems that the question is answered. Still there might be more behind that question. Perhaps that person used that question to make contact. If you give the time, the chance for further contact is minimized. If that person needed the time to check whether he is late only he is not able to calculate then the question is obviously answered only the person cannot do anything with it. Perhaps he actually wanted to ask if he is late for a certain appointment related to the current time.

The same might happen in testing, when a person tells you that his products is lacking quality you can tell him to test better. Nowadays it normal that in the same sentence we tell them we are able to do that part of testing and inform him that we are able to use methods for this like TMap, ISEB/ISTQB, TestGoal, CDT, SmarTest or whatever. Do to our experience it became our nurture to tell about our skills and experience.

Telling about skills and experience won't help a person. Using them might help. Only it can only help if you know it will fit the problem/ question. Before you start using your skills/experience about methods you first need to check if it is sufficient. It is important to start gaining information first. Then you can decide which solution/method is the best for helping the person.

I think here the tricky part comes: It is in our nurture to start asking questions based on our knowledge and experience. If that knowledge is restricted then the gained information is also restricted. Perhaps it is useful for the method you like to use; the pitfall here is that you might be forced to change customer’s processes and make them accept the disadvantages to make your method work.

I don't know exactly how to resolve this problem. At least I believe sticking to the knowledge/rules of one method is insufficient. Also the knowledge of 2 similar methods like ISTQB and TMap won't work. You will be forced thinking in a certain pattern although this pattern cannot be the answer. It might help you to lead to a solution. Currently I'm reading more beyond these approaches, listening to ideas of others and trying to make up my own ideas. I'm still aware I'm at the beginning of the journey where it helps to start with the statement: Currently no method is useful, let us first see what want to do and what we are currently doing.

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