Monday, August 18, 2008


Feelings are great. Having a "gut feel" about a product and following it up is part of what distinguishes a good QA engineer from a great QA engineer.


Feelings are no good if you don't follow them up with facts.

An analogy:
Imagine you're a general, and you're in your command post. A soldier comes running up from the front lines and says, "We're losing! We're losing!". There's your gut feel.

What should the general do?

There are a lot of options - order a retreat, send reinforcements, wait it out - but any one of them could be correct based on the information you have. Your gut feel is a good indicator that you need to look closely at your battle, but it doesn't tell you how to fix it. You need facts. You need to know why that feeling is there.

So you ask your running soldier why he thinks we're losing. You probably send out a scout to see what casualties really are. And once you know that the terrain is harder for artillery than you thought, you bring in more planes and infantry (or whatever the problem really is).

And back to the real world:
A gut feel is a good indicator that something is going on. The best thing you can do next is gather information. Run tests, look at bugs, do a code review.  But gut feelings are not actionable, and you can't really do anything to solve it unless you've taken your gut feeling and added facts.

THINK based on your gut.
DO based on fact.

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