Monday, June 6, 2011

How can I work when you build a fence around it?

Protection of your work
Last week while I was busy with one of my hobbies "geocaching" I found beside the treasure another particular thing. As on the photo below you see a mailbox only how can the postman deliver his work?

You might pass by this situation and laugh about it and continue what you are doing. The same you can do with this posting. You also might think what can be learned from this? is this a bug? Can it bugging me? Or bugging someone else? In certain situations I try to reflect on these situations towards testing. I believe that in every thing/situation there is something to learn from and which can help you define your mind set about testing.

A mailbox as trigger for questioning
So what did this picture triggered me: translate mailbox as you test is a box that you want to see what you can do with it, what value it can give you, what you can tell about it, perhaps you want to take a look inside.

Currently there is a fence between you and the mailbox. How would you translate the fence. In my opinion anything which stands behind you and what you want to do. This can be procedures, a process, no resources just use your imagination.

The situation here reveals more information. Only you have to make assumptions, and some people claim making assumptions is a bad thing for testers. I like to play with assumptions to see if there is valuable information behind those assumptions. For this situation I raise the assumption that this mailbox was of use for someone at some time for some period. I'm onlyy a person who found about this situation when there was a fence. Perhaps this was not always the case. This is an assumption. In my opinion the value of the object changed over time. Only it is the value I can give based on my current observations and knowledge. I might tell this mailbox cannot be used anymore, big deal, the postman should take postcards back to the station.

Change of process
For the postmen it might disturb the process as he was ask to deliver, by taking back it is not taking back his postcards; it are the receivers postcards, and now there is no line of communication with the receiver. The package cannot be delivered and there is no solid way to communicate about the changed situation. The owner was not available. The fence is stopping him to do his job.

Another assumption here is that someone else placed the fence for some reasons we don't understand, yet? That other person used his process to place the fence without bothering other process which affects his action. In organizations there are also those people/roles. Therefore this can also be translated testing.

Other processes affects testing

How often are we testers bothered with other processes which stopped us doing our job? Our job is testing, asking questions to the software and more. How often are we busy to find information why processes/procedures which are defined to help us obviously to test better? Making the quality of the process visible instead of making the quality visible of the product. We use our energy on other "important" things than using it for testing. I learned that often we are busy with "valuable" metrics to control processes instead of collecting information to tell the story about the product. Value time is lost.

Help us with testing

Instead of focus only on processes try to focus on testing. Sure there is always other processes which affects our work. Let those processes help us. Only make sure you don't build your fence around our job!

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