Passion, self-education and testing Martin Jansson

I’ve recently finished James Bach’s book Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar. I liked it, but I don’t agree with all of it. As a tester, I feel that it inspires me and gives me new ideas in my way of thinking and how I perceive learning, especially self-education. I fully agree with James on that you should follow your passion. If you are able to assist those around you to that end, it will make you grow even more. In march James will be in Sweden and hold a series of courses, one of them is Self-Education for testers. It think it would be very fun and educational to attend, I will see if I can make time.

One thing that I consider after reading the book is how I can inspire my daughter to learn, test new things and to follow her passion. When she receives a new toy, I want her to explore how it works. For instance, she got a little toy puppy that execute somersaults. It had a lot of mechanic inside it and sounded like it was very fragile, if you actually played with it. The purpose of the toy was probably just to watch it. I dislike such toys. I asked my daughter how she thought it worked. She did a somewhat exploratory, destructive test by enabling the puppy to do the somersault, then directly afterwards hugged it tightly. There was a popping sound in the mechanic as the puppy tried to execute the somersault, while being held secure. After that test it was not possible for the puppy to somersault, rather it performed a half one and landed on its nose. I applauded my daughters destructive sense of testing of the toy. Translating that into testing terms, she prioritized which test to start with and considered what was the biggest chance a user would do then executed that. One test to render the system useless. Wonderful!

I think we have a lot to learn (or perhaps relearn) from our children.

Rikard Edgren January 27th, 2010

“I think we have a lot to learn (or perhaps relearn) from our children.”
Yes, indeed.
Children have an enormous curiosity, and a natural ability to learn things while having fun.
While getting older, the key is to not destroy this.

Tomas Lindqvist January 27th, 2010

I have also read the book and as you I do not agree on everything. James is a very intelligent person, not all of us have the ability to read something and just remember it all, not me atleast. It all sounds very simple in the book. Quit school, buy some books and learn yourself what you need.

Somewhere I do believe it is alot of hard work and also some good luck to succeed the way he describes in the book.

The book is however really inspiring and something that all testers should read since alot of testwork is self education.

I’ll try my best to convince my manager that it is worth the money to send me to Gothernburg and the one day session with James.

Martin Jansson January 27th, 2010

There is an infinite amount of books that give us ideas, but books written by testers give me something quickly. I’ve read a lot by Jerry Weinberg lately. I wish I read some of his books when I started my test career. Still, after a few years experience it is easier to suck in their knowledge and I might not have understood it fully.

I have a few interesting books in organisational psychology and organisational theory that awaits me. A swedish book that I can recommend is “Att hantera konflikter” by Andreas de Klerk. I guess we need to fill in the Recommendations section above more.

Henrik Emilsson February 15th, 2010

I have signed up for Self-Education for testers!