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Showing posts from October, 2014

McElligot's Rule

I've read a lot of Dr Seuss books over the years and McElligot's Pool is one of my favourites, in part because of this passage, spoken by a boy after being told he's wasting his time fishing: "Hmmm ..." answered Marco, "It may be you're right. I've been here three hours Without one single bite. There might be no fish ...  "... But again, Well, there might! "  " Cause you never can tell What goes on down below!   "This pool might be bigger Than you or I know!" Testers, I give you McElligot's Rule* : when you're chasing a might on the basis of a  never-can-tell , it's worth putting your rod aside now and again to think about what you're tying to achieve, how, why and for who. * OK, heuristic , but we're rhyming today. Image: Amazon

Springboard or Straightjacket?

It's a common claim that constraints feed creativity. But it doesn't have to be so; constraints may, well,  constrain creativity too. I use mnemonics such as SFDPOT in my testing. Seeding thoughts with each of the specific areas encourages idea generation but throwing away ideas that come from it, perhaps because they don't seem to fit into that category, holds it back. Ideas often form chains, and it may take several "invalid" links to get to a "valid" one. Breaking the chain loses that opportunity. Image: Zappa

How Hard

I forget where I first heard this distinction between expertise and experience: expertise: theoretical knowledge  experience: practical knowledge It's possible to have degrees of one, or both, or to have neither in some area. Apart from its utility as a heuristic for remembering to look to test at different levels, it serves to remind me that the people on any project have different combinations of each and their mental models reflect that. The manager knows there's a hammer that can be applied to the current problem: just how hard can it be ? The implementer knows what to hit, and where, and just how hard it can be. Image: