Monday, 20 October 2008

Finding My Way

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to visit Venice. The guidebooks warned that it was easy to get lost in Venice so I tried to prepare myself with maps, directions, itineraries.

Didn't help, within minutes of being dropped off by the water taxi we were lost.
Wandering round we'd often end up back where we started or totally lost again.
Impossible to walk in a straight line as there are so many turns and twists, canals and bridges and long Italian place name so unless you have a life-size map or are at one of the main sights then really tricky to find yourself on a map. And the narrow alleys and buildings mean there's no landmarks to spot to help

So what has this got to with testing ?

A number of analogies came to mind

It could be used to argue against the waterfall approach - all the careful planning I did just didn't help very much when I was faced with the reality of Venetian streets.

It could be used as a good example of the dangers of ad-hoc testing, wandering off without any plan or direction meant going round in circles. Adopting a fully scripted approach of following directions exactly would not only have been incredibly tedious ( checking where you were every 5 yards ) but would have meant missing out on some great discoveries when we did wander off the direction we were meant to go.
We found that the best approach was to establish a general idea of where we were going and check our progress every so often.

One thing I have found when looking back at my trip is how it reflected my Myers-Briggs personality type I'm pretty much an ISTJ, I like things organised so initally Venice was a shock to the system.
As are software projects utilising the CHAOS methodology where there is no order - but knowing how I react to them helps me cope and get to work in making them less chaotic

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