Tuesday, 22 December 2015

How the Golden Circle can help you become a Great Tester

I was recently watching a TED Talk by Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action... It's a truly inspiring video, and one that I highly recommend you watching it. Like any great video/speech it got me thinking and trying to apply it to my life/world. As you know a lot of my life/world is around testing and so naturally I started asking myself the following questions:

- What helps makes great testers?
- What makes people really appreciate the value of testers?

Now in the video Simon mentions what he calls "The Golden Circle" which you can find a neat little diagram of below:

Using this he helps explain what makes leaders/businesses great, it's not the What of what they are doing? Nor is it necessarily the How? It is in fact the Why of what you are doing. If people can connect and resonate with the Why of what you are doing they are going to follow you, they are doing to buy into your product and appreciate the value you bring even you more so.

This made me think, what helps makes a Tester Great? Is it the What? Is it what they do? Is it testing software/requirements? Is it finding bugs in software?  This is all fine, it's an end to a means, but the question isn't, What makes a fine Testers? It's what makes a Tester great? To me, this will not make you a great tester, nor will it really demonstrate the true value in which you will bring to a team of engineers in developing quality software.

What about the How? Some testers know and are extremely confident in how they are going to test something, so they go ahead and test it, some testers however might not know the How's completely, and require on help from others in figuring this out, again this is okay, team work is about helping others be better. Does the How make you a great Tester? No, it probably helps makes you a good Tester, but this isn't what will make you a great tester, nor will it make others truly appreciate the value in what you are bringing.

Finally, we are on to the Why? Very few testers that I work with, truly understand the Why of testing... Why are we testing something in a certain way? Why aren't we testing this? I feel that this is what will help make you a great tester. Find out the Whys of Testing... Why we are performance testing something in this way, or Why we are testing something this way, if we can figure out Why we are testing something, then we can define How and What we are testing so much easier. If we can define this instead of relying on people to tell us what to test, and why we are testing it then we are helping them understand the true value of Testing. This I truly believe will demonstrate to the team and others the true value of great testing. 

You could look at it at the bigger picture, if we understand why we are doing our jobs, then we understand the value we bring, and this will rub off on others, and help others truly appreciate what we bring to the table.

So I suppose another question is, how can we get to the point where we truly understand why we are testing something. One route is to fully understand the architectural aspects of a solution, or to understand how it is being developed and understand the code behind the application, this will help us understand why we are testing. We can also ask lots of questions, not just about development, but about requirements, about why we are doing something? Truly understand the end user, and then we can shape how we test something and what we want to test and in doing so, hopefully help everyone understand Why we test, and the value that we can all bring by working closely with others in the team and not off in silo.

Finally, and a bit of a disclaimer obviously, knowing the Why of Testing is not going to make you a Great Tester, it will help, and it will help people appreciate the value you bring, but there are many aspects that I will cover in another post that help make Great Testers, so stay tuned!