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‘Testing – Questioning – A child can teach you’ by Ajay Balamurugadas

  • 11/10/2010
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR
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The last weekend was special to me. Weekend Testing (http://weekendtesting.com/) was back after a break. There were some new faces and I was happy to facilitate a session after a month. The session was refreshing to most of the testers. You can find the detailed session report here: http://weekendtesting.com/archives/1479 It was worth every minute of my time as I had applied half day leave to office just to facilitate the session.

After the session, I went to sleep and was fast asleep. Suddenly, I heard some sounds of laughter and it was my nephew, 7 years old. Though I was disturbed, I felt happy on seeing him. He was all smiles on seeing me and asked for the Cartoon DVD which I had promised him. I realized that I had not bought it and had to think of something very soon to please him. I replied that the cartoon can be watched on mobile via youtube and its better than DVD. A DVD has limited episodes and youtube has a lot of them.

So, I launched http://www.youtube.com/ on mobile and typed the name of the cartoon. He was very excited and asked me if the entire cartoon network can be viewed on the mobile. I smiled and said that with a costly mobile, we could see cartoon network channel right on the mobile. He then asked me where is the cartoon? I said: Please wait, boss. It is C-O-N-N-E-C-T-I-N-G. He was keenly observing the screen. The text changed from CONNEC-TING to L-O-A-D-I-N-G. He pointed out to me that the text changed but there was no cartoon displayed.

After few seconds, the cartoon was played and he asked why there was no volume? He bombarded me with questions – how to increase volume? Why is it silent? Have you pressed the mute button? I increased the volume and the screen again changed to ‘BUFFERING’. He told he’ll read it on his own and asked me is that ‘B-O-O-F-A-R-I-N-G’? On telling him that its buffering. His question stumped me: Why does the text not come when watching cartoon network on television?

My mother called him for some snacks and he ran away promising me that he’ll return soon.

Why did I tell you what happened between my nephew and me? Why did I mention about Weekend Testing?

There is a reason.

Did you notice how the small boy asked so many questions? Why is he so curious? Is it his age or his innocence? Will he still be as curious as he is now after a few years? Will the education system crush a child’s curiosity or will he get a great teacher who will nourish him?

Just taking his questioning skills into account, will he not make a good tester for his age? What can we learn from him? When a child can be so fearless, curious, inquisitive and attentive (he was the one who pointed out that the text changed from connecting to loading but the cartoon was not yet displayed; I was used to it), why can’t we grown-ups be? What stops us from questioning and gathering information?

Are we afraid of failure?

Are we afraid of being seen as stupid?

What will others think about us? Are these questions running in your mind?

As testers, our job is to provide quality related information to stakeholders and we must not hesitate to exercise our questioning skills. We can learn a lot from a child. Tell me, weren’t WE as curious as my nephew when we were young? It is we who have to change and get back to the fearless childhood. If one attitude would still serve us well in our testing activities, its the inquisitiveness of a child.

Shed the barriers, be like a child and ask questions.

There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.

If you want to practice questioning skills and want to fail in a safe environment Weekend Testing is the perfect place for you. Join us and yes, you can question our motive too :)

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