Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Navigation by blindness

Let me start again with a phrase: a few weeks ago.... some how I got triggered by the navigation system I own. I drove back from work towards the place I call home. I push automatically the “home” button and the navigation system calculated the optimal trip home without asking me for any questions if I prefer another way to follow.

Normally I would consider this normal behaviour and follow the advice route or ignore it. This time I got aware of “it”. “It” gained is this situation a new context. “It” turned from an accepted situation of which the rules did not matter into a situation with several conditions. “It” turned into a predefined path into an path which could be overruled with made decisions which I controlled.

You might think, this is nothing strange, you always follow the route which is calculated, or you also overrule the calculated route.
If so, are you able to make the connection with software testing? Do you even wonder if there are connections?

At that moment driving back at home there were several things I thought of:
- Why do I ask for a defined route calculation although I know were I am, were to go and how to drive?
- Why did I still continue to add the destination?
- Why was I curious about the ETA, I had a watch and I know how long it would take approximately and somehow it was not higher maths?
- Why did this remind me of some moments in regression testing? Performing the same actions although you know the outcome?
- Why did it give me a bad feeling that using a tool did not provide me any additional value?
- Why did it feel as false trust to rely on a tool although I could use my own knowledge, skills and senses?
- Why did it look like I was in control and in testing using standard regressions test or standard automated tests provide same feeling of control?

So why do I bother at all to write about such a simple action. That is “Why”.

While driving I deliberately ignore the advice as I know another route, not faster, not slower, a route which worked for me. I ignore the tool, the navigator, and followed my route. I used a who-cares-factor.
So who cares?
I cared because:
- I got aware that I was able to overrule the system
- I got triggered to ask me the question why to ignore the system
- I added new value to the meaning of the route, as I was curious about some parts of the area
- It made me also challenge the tool I was asking for information. I compared the initial prediction of ETA combined with KM’s to drive with the newly forecasted information
- It made me able to listen to my car under other conditions, instead of driving 80 km/h driving the care with 120 km/h. somehow certain speed at certain moments gave some other thrills.
- I got aware of a situation were things seems so obvious you have to change focus to learn new things and redefine old behaviour.

That evening I learned more about not following blind advises provided by people or systems. I learned to play with the context, instead of accepting the situation I got new insights about the way I behave, think and act. I learned that I and perhaps others using tools out of familiarity instead of certain purpose which value has changed.
I learned that if you don’t change the situation or circumstances then the value will be minimized. This remembered me of a lessons I read somewhere sometime that if you don’t change your regression tests then they are worthless, they don’t add anything. So why do it, spend time, and valuable skills if you skilled testers?

I think we should avoid navigate with certain blindness by relying on tools and defined routes. Instead we should change our test cases and not rely on our “old” regressions tests or other tests we scripted in the past.

1 comment:

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