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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Fallacy of the Single Point

Ever heard of the 'Fallacy of the Single Cause?'
It refers to the rarity of single causes resulting in particular effects, it turns out the world is more complex than that. Many different inputs are required to created the blended and various outputs we see in the world around us. Some may contribute more than others and at different times, but as a rule of thumb for life (and testing), pinning your hopes on one cause, is likely to leave you disappointed.
We communicate in stories, but what's the point?
This fallacy has been refined to apply to the penchant for storytelling that is intrinsic to how we communicate. The question is this. How often do you listen to a story and you take away a singular outcome or learning? Thing is, the end of a narrative is only part of that journey, a great many stories express many subtleties as they progress, especially that rich vein of intrigue and oblique learning, reality.
In my eyes, this ability to tell a story has always been critica…

Reviewed - The Testers Pocketbook by Paul Gerrard

I had heard a great deal about this little book. Some who had read it appreciated its premise, some were in fairly fundamental disagreement. If a text generates polar opposites of agreement, then that immediately piqued my interest! So lets begin with that premise:
"A Test Axiom is something we believe to be self evident and we cannot imagine an exception to it"
I feel this is indeed a risky premise for an approach to testing, could be easily misinterpreted as a set of iron laws to be followed, which will magically output an appropriate approach to testing. With this in mind I set about the enjoyable challenge of the dissection of these axioms. Lets take for example:
"Testing requires a known, controlled environment"
There are absolutely benefits to this statement, but also damaging flipsides to your test approach. A known, controlled environment is limited in variance, therefore only able to expose bugs of a certain nature. In addition, tests run in an environment suc…

Lets celebrate! Anyone still out there.....?

Pyrrhic victory. I was reminded of this term a few days ago. 
It is when winning decimates *almost* everything, so winning is basically not worth the cost exacted to achieve it. I believe I have seen this effect on teams during and after very long development projects, the dreaded 'death march.' The projects aims might be valuable and completely worthwhile, but at what cost?
Sometimes, the stresses and strains of such endeavours decimate the team tasked with delivery. Relationships are strained or break, enthusiasm is replaced with cynicism, previously open minds are closed to protect for harm and monotony. Previously conquered silo's re-embed themselves.


Consider those precious 'T-Shaped' people, who are consistently pushed to their limits and burn out, or retreat back into their shells. As a complement to the determined specialist, these guys (and encouraging more of them to flourish) are the key to unlocking effective delivery. Their flexibility and enthusiasm …

Reviewed - The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

I'm always slightly sceptical of the phrase 'timeless' when it comes to management literature, given the infinite variance of people and the situations we find ourselves in. The Effective Executive was described as exactly that by the excellent Manager Tools podcast and I found myself in front of a well know online store ordering a copy.
Overall, it struck me immediately the sparseness and matter of fact nature of the language used by Drucker, although that sparseness expresses the practical nature of the guidance given, starting with managing one's time.
The reality of time is that it is the one thing (on an individual level at least) that you cannot gain more of. Drucker's message is quite bleak at first but the reality of it I will not contest, most executives I know will admit to rarely being able to focus on the critical issues as they are drawn in varied directions to tend to the issues of today, where they may be better served focusing on tomorrow. Indeed t…