Looking too much only on testing and testers and forums related to testing, I felt the need to change the area of my focus. I wanted something different but didn’t really know why and in which way was that. Well focus-defocusing is an important necesity in any intellectual activity.
It didn’t take too long to get on this video that explains very well the simplicity of things. The story that I liked most in this presentation was about the oil pipe line problem that affected the industry (leaks) and the way that was solved. A Scottish engineer once cut his finger and connected this to the cracks in pipelines making a start point for a solution, based on coagulation.
And how testing can be improved by reading about something else? Well testing is not just merely a technical problem, like doing some manual or automatic activity and everything stops there. Testing is also about efficiency. Reading psychology could help how a testing team can become better, maybe pairings of two testers is more efficient, maybe weekly workshops is better, maybe team buildings, or on the contrary, privacy. Reading about this, which is not actually testing related, even if it doesn’t solve the problem, could help.
Logic and statistics education can help show patterns, how many spam is expected to go through a filter, what are the top sources of spam, what percentage in the analysis of an email could be considered spam. This could be helpful in testing an application that prevents spamming.
Learning about food, what type of food is good and what type is not. Is it good to drink coffee every day, is it healthy?
Maybe sport and biology, what and how much physical activity is optimal? Does it affect in any way?
More close are the technical areas, what type of scripting is it good? Is it better to program every test automation or use scripting only for data generation in a situation. Having practical knowledge will help to get a better estimation.
Look also at the next video that shows the huge impact that sound has on human productivity:
Its very scary how simple things can affect us, that’s what I though when looking at it.
Also the work place interior is affecting us. Architects have long known that the places we inhabit can affect our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. When do you feel better, when you have a blank wall in your face, you are in an isolated gray cubical or when you have nicely designed office, pictures ,colors?
How about light in the equation? Some studies show that light, brightness, and sound affects introverts and extroverts differently. Depending on your personality , the surrounding can either motivate or demotivate someone at work.
Also the team structure. Would you put as Test Lead someone with not relevant experience as a tester to lead a team of testers? Combination and details are very important.
The weather for example can be a factor that affects mood.
The need for relative freedom in the work is affecting productivity. If you work on something that motivates you will be much more productive than someone who just needs the job.
Balancing activities helps. In some cases you will find experts in some fields doing as a hobby totally different activities. For example the MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko loves painting, chess and religion. This looks apparently unconnected, doesn’t it? Or at least a little bit.
This all helps but some stuff need to remain at some priority. I don’t believe personally when companies put as leads in testing people that were leads to something unrelated. Secondary means secondary. A secondary skill helps but should not be a 100 % replacement.
Testing I believe is an activity with its own body which can be improved by learning other stuff but it should be respected as a craft.