I love this quote:
“Through focused awareness our world becomes understandable. Superficial understanding will arise when one has only attended to the surface of things. Profound understanding requires attending to what lies beneath the visible surface. Likewise, the comprehensiveness of our understanding of any situation or subject depends on the attention given to all of the relevant aspects and their relationship to each other. Thus the quality of our attention is linked to the quality of both ones learning and performance.”
It’s from a guy called W. Timothy Gallway, who back in the 70’s wrote some books about Tennis and Golf, which you may or may not have heard of. In any event, he’s all about focus.
One of the things I took away from Tony’s London Tester Gathering Workshops last week (the bits that I managed to attend anyway), was a renewed focus on the areas that perhaps don’t always get as much attention as they should. James Lyndsay drew a nifty diagram showing how value to stakeholders is the place where what they expected to be delivered intersects with what was actually delivered. It’s not the first time I’ve actually seen this diagram, but for some reason it particularly resonated with me on this occasion.
Going back to the quote above, it’s clear to me that quality exploratory testing is the intersection of focus on risk (per the Venn diagram) with the ability to dig beneath the surface of what is visible. Testers should feel comfortable with what ever mechanisms are available to them to be able to do this. After all, as Alan Richardson put it, “Developer tools aren’t just for developers, they are in the browser. My mum has access to developer tools.”