How many of you like being proven wrong?
I am not asking you to admit this to anyone other than yourselves, right here and right now.
I think most people do not like being proven wrong, and I have even seen some go to crazy lengths not to admit they were mistaken.
I guess this is just a trait in humans… We do not like being proven WRONG.
… But Why?
As much as I have seen this, I am not sure I understand why.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I see this all the time.
I even understand (with some level of annoyance) why my 7-year-old daughter can get mad at me when I correct her on something she was convinced to be doing right. But then again, she is seven-years-old.
I do not understand why people who are not children, and especially those who are professionals in any discipline, can go to irrational lengths just to prove they were not wrong.
Don’t let your Ego get the best of you.
If you look at the definition of Ego, you will find a very simple one that I like:
A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
Each of us wants to be important, and this makes us feel better with ourselves (self-esteem).
But for some reason, maybe an evolutionary trait that used to be important once but is now just a vestige that we need to drop like our Appendix or our Wisdom Teeth, many of us still cling to the strange assumption that being wrong is a sign of weakness, and this will make us look bad in the eyes of our Tribe.
Don’t you think it is time we evolve out of it???
You can be proud of (sometimes) being wrong!
Here is a crazy suggestion: Celebrate the instances when you are proven wrong!
Understand that you are blessed to work as part of a group, where each of us can bring forward opinions and ideas, and these ideas can be debated and even tried before deciding if they are right or wrong.
Experimenting will always bring forward successes and failures. When you are working on challenging areas you will definitely experience more failures for each success you achieve.
If Edison tried over a thousand times (and was wrong in most of them) before achieving the light bulb, then I guess you will be in good company if you fail once in a while when coming up with ideas that work for you.
Being wrong in testing…?
How all this connects to testing, you ask?
I am glad you did!
Making incorrect Risk Assumptions – Sometimes I am wrong when I decide to spend time testing an area and then we don’t find any important bugs. And on the contrary, sometimes make bad assumptions and not testing an area that had an important bug that went out to the field.
I don’t love it, but I understand this is part of my job. We cannot test everything and so we make professional assumptions that choose what to test more and what to test less.
The idea is that when we learn from these assumptions we are able to make even better assumptions in the future.
Being in the minority opinion during Bug Triage – When we are reviewing bugs, I always have an opinion of how critical a bug is and whether I think it should be fixed on the current version.
Most times I am right, but when I bring up my points and the rest of the triage team thinks otherwise, I am usually willing to accept the ruling of majority vote, and only on very extreme occasions, I use the override capabilities that I have as the QA Manager.
Defining the MVP content – I am also wrong sometimes, and happy to be proven so, when we need to define what defines the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) of a feature we are designing before releasing it for feedback to the field.
What makes this more interesting is that when I was a beginning my career as a Tester and a Test Manager, I remember myself literally going to war with my project peers over issues that today I am happy to be wrong about.
Experimenting is about learning
Just one important point…
Being wrong is OK, but only if you learn from your mistakes in order not to commit them again and again in the future.
Going back to experimentation and the light bulb, after each failed attempt, Edison made sure to understand what had worked and what didn’t so that his team could continue making progress on the project.
And so should you too. Try stuff, don’t be afraid of failing, but when you do fail to make sure you learn from it and correct your steps.
Learning is not a straight path, but the curves and the detours are what makes learning such an interesting experience.
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