Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dumb questions and not getting lost from your route

There's a saying in Finnish "Kysyvä ei tieltä eksy". In English it might translate into "Man asking for directions does not get lost from his route." I really like that saying.

Another more famous one is "There are no dumb questions". I disagree with this one.

There are dumb questions, and you cannot avoid them. Asking good questions, the right questions, at the right time, from the right source, and in the right way, is really hard. That's pretty much what testing is about. Asking, learning from the answers, and educating others based on the answers.

As an example a dumb question would be one that:
- is asked at the wrong time
- is asked from the wrong source
- is not answered
- provides no information for anybody
- takes a lot of effort to ask, and provides very little value
- is asked just for the sake of wanting to ask - you shouldn't want to ask, you should want to ask so that you can hear the response 
- does not help you to invent better questions
At least these come quickly to my mind.

Problem is, that often you don't know whether the question you are asking is a dumb or a clever one until after you hear the answer. (Perhaps that's the point of the saying?)

After my switch to Philips, I have had to ask a lot of questions. Some awful, some better, all too many and at the same time all too few. It is basically trying to balance between not getting lost on my route, and not wasting too much of other peoples time by asking too many too silly questions. It is a hard one to balance on.

I've been a huge advocate of questioning. Everything. Everyone. Every time. And still am, because a man asking for directions, even with stupid questions, does not get lost from his route.

He might get mugged though, but that's the risk you gotta take :)

No comments:

Post a Comment