Friday, February 2, 2018

Reading with rose-colored glasses

As a tester, I specialize in feedback. I both find things that no one else was bringing to the table, and amplify things someone else did so that the feedback gets the attention it needs. One of my favorite sayings is from Cem Kaner's book Lessons Learned in Software Testing.

I got to think about this today, as I had a pair of people to give a piece of positive feedback on. 

I approached the first, using a phrase of "waking up a security bear" to emphasize that something they did resulted in a positive outcome of identifying and addressing a vulnerability. The positive feedback was taken at face value. 

I approach the second, explaining a little more context of why this was important. And while I thought I was still trying to say "well done", I got into a spiral discussion of what was wrong with what they did. Reflecting the interaction, there was *one thing wrong* - the immediate response that the bug had been previously reported and dismissed then. 

The first one approached the feedback as something positive. The second approached the feedback as something negative. I ended up with two completely different interactions for the same message: job well done, I would like to turn up the good and this was good. 

The whole experience took me back to a one-liner from my boss: "I want to talk with you". My immediate response was "bad or good". I chose to wear my rose-colored glasses and assume positive intent. 

Putting these two things together, I realize that wearing the glasses of good intent is the single most relevant thing I have done to feel happier and more successful as a tester. The world is filled with good, and even the (negative) feedback we are bearers of is positive from a constructive angle.