Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Model Competition

There's this thing that keeps happening to me, and it makes me feel like I'm not good enough. Great people design a feature without me. They do the best job discussing it, write something down of it and later on, I join in. I look at what was written down, and talk the the people about the discussions that took place before me. And I just can't make sense of it to the depth I want. So I hide in a corner for a day, do my own search and design, seeking for motivations of why would anyone want to use this and come out with a private version of document, rewritten that has little resemblance to what was there in the first place.

It has happened so many times, that I've gotten over the first idea of me somehow being better in seeing things others don't. And I see others doing it to me, if they just have the approach of daring to take a day of reflection time.

The version I start with is not the feature, it's a model of the feature depicting parts considered relevant in the original discussion. The process of discussing was relevant, and I missed that. And the process of discussing would have been fueled by its participants reflecting on whatever external information they deem useful.

What I do is create another model. The value of my model is to give me time to build my understanding, but since I have more to build on than those who came before me, there tends to be aspects of my model that are missing and deemed relevant.

No model is perfect. The idea of constantly improving and looking for new perspectives, models, to replace or enhance the old is needed.

This time, my model won over the older one, and got promoted as the common piece around which we communicate. And I just wish someone like me comes along, looks at it and does not accept it at face value. But it does not happen to me by just showing up, but there significant work for creating a model of perspectives we may be missing now.


  1. Could you open up a bit what you mean by your model in this particular case? Just thinking if it's a diagram, mindmap or what?

    1. There was an analysis of a feature to build. Talking to people who had done the analysis, I noticed emphasis on *what this team can do* (over what all teams can do) and *API* (over GUI and concepts). So I remodeled the same thing, with different emphasis.

      I don't have just one way I do this. I tend to listen to people to see what they don't speak of (against my mental model that isn't anywhere written down) and see what would change if the emphasis was different.

      A typical difference in perspectives is that I (as many testers) think in terms of systems and value, whereas many non-testers think in terms of details, implementation and what is immediately at hand.

      So my model isn't a diagram or a mind map. It's a way of thinking that could start me on a task to put things on paper in a diagram, list of things or a mind map.