Thursday, 16 October 2014

Ignorance is not the strategy to pursue

I came across this comic a while ago, and it underlines many interresting points when thinking about testing and QA:
“It is true. Hobbes. ignorance is bliss” – Indeed it is, but this changes quickly when your ignorance is exposed on the front-page of the printed press just after launch of your application. This is why you need knowledge about your solution; something that testing will give you.
“Once you know things you start seeing problems everywhere… And once you see problems, you feel like you ought to try to fix them.” – Knowledge is power, as knowing where the problem is will give you a tool to try fixing it. When you start seeing problems everywhere it becomes paramount that the knowledge is formalized and priorities are applied. Tools for knowledge management, specifically defect management will help here.
“And fixing problems always seems to require personal change, and change means doing things that aren’t fun. I say phooey to that!” – Fixing problems are indeed hard work, and if they are not well described and following an agreed procedure then it will be even harder. Lack of process for handling problems will often lead to confusions and people saying “phooey to that!”
“But if you are willfully stupid you don’t know any better, so you can keep doing whatever you like!” – Yes you can, but you will also keep repeating your mistakes, introduce immense overhead, build frustration in your development organization and run the risk of doing and epic fail and scare all talent away from your team. Management needs to take responsibility for the organization working smarter and not harder.
“The secret to happiness is short-term stupid self interest!” – That strategy is called pissing your pants, ill advisable but often practiced but organizations or people who have lost their foothold.
 “Were heading for that cliff!” “I don’t want to know about it” – Does that sound familiar, you have probably seen this scene in a professional setting? Some unpleasant reports are deliberately ignored, and some risks are left without mitigation, this is cost escalation and waste. Only OK if you (or your customer) have too much money to spend on nothing, or if you are planning to fail.
“I’m not sure I can stand so much bliss!” “Careful! We don’t want to learn anything from this!” – Maybe it is worth learning something, at least to avoid getting bruised all the time?!
Applying Calvin’s statements in a software development environment carries following conclusions:
·         Ignorance is not the strategy to pursue.
·         Knowledge is king, test can help you wise up.
·         Fixing problems is hard, applying process and tools will help you.
·         Management is responsible for work smarter and not harder all the time.
·         Do not ignore warnings – Act!
Happy testing!

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