Sunday, March 13, 2016

TED talks worth watching

Generally this blog is about original material.  However, once in a while I will find something so extraordinary that I just want to link to it, and "keep it" on the blog - so I and other readers can come back to it.

I don't do it often, but when I do it's because it either so moved me, or I have an absolute need to say "+1" to it.  Here I look at some recent TED talks which have completely blown me away for one reason or another ...

How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

Here Andrew Solomon talks about people who have had to deal with adversity.  In particular how those who transcend show an ability to forge meaning in their trials ...

[If you only have time for one talk, this is the one I'd recommend]

How frustration can make us more creative

A recommendation from my parents no less!  How well they know their son.

Contrary to what me might seem common wisdom - it's often when we're just a little uncomfortable.  When thinks are a little disorganised and maybe even chaotic.  These are the time we're actually much more switched on and creative ...

Really "mixing it up a bit" and Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies sound useful for many an agile team.

Trial, error and the God complex

Economist Tim Harford looks at complexity in the world, and the "God complex" trap - where we think we understand things, and try and simplify our approach.  He argues that we evolve our approach best by adding a bit of randomness and taking a trial and error approach.

This really resonated with me.  Recently I took part in James Bach's  challenge on integration testing.  He set a problem, and I gave how I'd approach testing it.  When he asked me why I'd do some of it - what problems I'd expect to find, I was tempted to change my scope, and do less.  But he reminded me you don't always have to justify everything - if a test is simple, and is there out of curiosity, don't feel the need to justify every test you do.

Likewise in agile, we'll test functionality around a story, because we know that's where the most change has been.  But sometimes we want to test manually in areas we know haven't changed.  The God complex tells us that area hasn't been changed (that we know of), so it's a waste of time testing.  However, once in a while, we find something has got through - and our God isn't as infallible as they led us to believe.  Trial and error will find things that God complex cannot anticipate, and it's an important tool for us a testers!

[This talk echoes some themes I'm encountering reading Thinking Fast And Slow]

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