Friday, June 5, 2009

Start without a method

I'm the last person who would say that using methods make no sense. As often before, I advise to use them wisely. I can imagine that without any method it might be hard to reach the goal.

You might compare it with getting from point A to point B. In the beginning we didn't had car navigation systems or even paper maps. We started walking, riding, sailing based on our experience. By looking carefully to our environment we adapted the path to go. We even used tools to help us during our journey.

When some trips were made often, wise people drew a map to explain to people with lesser experience how to walk. Even then it was sometimes hard to end up at point B as you needed the skill to read maps, sometimes reading one map type differed from the other.

Currently we are driving our cars, bikes or even walking based on our navigation systems. A tool tells us what to do and when to do what. We stop thinking how to get from A to B. One benefit here is that we have time to other things like watching the environment better, communicating more, etc.

I think the same is now happening in the field of testing; and happened before. Initially we were just testing, finding bugs by pressing the buttons. After a while all kinds of methods were defined like related to testing ISTQB, TMap, TestFrame, TestGoal, TPI, V2M2 etc. Related to development they drew up the different map types like: Waterfall, DSDM, RUP, Agile, etc. They all should help us to get from A to B. And basically, they can work.

Perhaps I'm wrong, what I see happening now is that those methods are also used as tools as they are telling us how to test and when to test. The only difference is here the purpose. Instead of getting from A to B they are to get more free time to enjoy the environment. I suggest that we keep our eyes open to question the environment, use our skills and experience to get from A to B and adapt our routes when we think it is necessary and not because of a method says so or a method forgot to tell you to do.

A method is a good think when it is used as a guideline. Using it as a tool can be done in different ways, you can use it to help you to define your route, it can also be used as goal. When using it is as a goal the focus lies more on implementation of a method instead of using a method.

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