Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thinking like a tester and lateral thinking

There is a common belief that testers are "negative" thinkers, that testers complain, that testers like to break stuff, that testers take a special thrill in delivering bad news. While reading "Thinking Like a Tester" chapter from Lesson Learned in Software Testing book we can realize that there is an alternative view. For example: Tester don’t like to break things -> they like to dispel the illusion that things work.
With every lesson form this chapter we learn how tester can develop their mind and how different thinking can help to become better testers. One of the lesson is:

Lesson 21. Good testers thinks technically, creatively, critically and practically

According to authors all kinds of thinking fit into testing. They consider however 4 major categories of thinking as worth to highlight:
Technical thinking - the ability to model technology and understand cases and effects
Creative thinking - the ability to generate ideas and possibilities
Critical thinking - the ability to evaluate ideas and make inferences
Practical thinking- the ability to put ideas into practice

This lesson reminds me that there is another way of thinking which is not a new category but for sure worth to mention in this context - Lateral Thinking. I've read about this term for the first time in one of the book by Edward de Bono : "The Use of Lateral Thinking".
According to Edward de Bono":
Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.

We can read in this book that lateral thinking is not always related to solving problems but also helps to find new way of perception of old things and to generate new ideas. De Bono also illustrate lateral thinking in following way :
"You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper"

I think it relates very much to testing. Sometimes doing more tests in same way or in the same place is not giving us any new information. To learn something new we have to change direction.

In this book we can also read that people get used to one way of thinking. It reminds me that very often when I see something new (eg. software) my first way of using or running it becomes immediately a new habit - one and the only way of using it. I am limiting myself and forget that this way of using that thing (eg. program) is just one from many. Using lateral thinking may help us in such situations. Applying lateral thinking remind us that we should not be accustomed to the only one way of doing something only because it worked out for the first time.


1 comment:

  1. Hello Alek,

    My name is Lolita Guevarra and I am the managing editor for LogiGear Magazine, the in-house publication of software testing corporation LogiGear. Please contact me directly for a writing opportunity.

    Kind regards,

    Lolita Guevarra