Episode 45 – Psychology In Testing – Ignorance

Welcome back to another Testing In The Pub where we continue the series on Psychology In Testing and talk about Ignorance.

We talk about:

  • What is ignorance and what’s it’s relationship to information?
  • What is the value of understanding ignorance?
  • Being unaware of ignorance
  • Why we can never know everything
  • The 5 orders of ignorance
  • How ignorance grows faster than knowledge
  • How when we answer one question and gain knowledge, that knowledge causes us to learn about more ignorance
  • How do we actually discover more?
    • Processes/activities
    • Investigation
    • Testing
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3 thoughts on “Episode 45 – Psychology In Testing – Ignorance”

  1. I’ll start with … Hindsight software are fab.

    I very much appreciate the time you invest in these podcasts. This was an interesting discussion and well worth the time to listen.

    The saying goes “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”. With that in mind, one (in my opinion) particularly extreme *context* that I’ve had to deal with is where it is acceptable, endemic in fact, to hide/encourage ignorance (imo) and treat all “new” information as “Change Requests”.

    [organisational change question] What would your next steps be, in a similar context, to lead towards a more dynamic, information driven, methodology?

    Happy to discuss/explore on a future podcast.

    1. Thanks Mark,

      Good question 🙂

      Firstly it’d depend on the size of the company – if such behaviour was endemic within a small (say >100 people) company then it’d be easier to fix (although one would wonder how things had got to that point). Anywhere larger and the inevitable separation of teams tends to make it harder to avoid completely.

      My take on how a company would get into this position focuses on three main issues:

      1) A lack of time with no flexibility of deliverables – if deadlines that are set are obviously unachievable or barely achievable at best, then teams lack the time to be flexible and feel far too much pressure to just hit that deadline.
      2) A lack of a clear link between what’s being delivered and why it’s being delivered, i.e. no clear link to a clear enough company goal.
      3) An endemic lack of trust in the organisation from the top down, meaning that teams feel pressured into not making mistakes and therefore play it safe.

      Fixing the above needs to come from the top down, and senior management would need to ensure that a culture of respect, trust and learning (i.e. an understanding that humans are fallible and make mistakes, and learning from those mistakes is what’s important). That, when taken in conjunction with a roadmap which is realistic and allows slack, means that teams are able and willing to take ownership and be happy feeling accountable for whatever product or system that they own.

      Agreed – this would make a great podcast. Fancy coming on and talking about it?

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