Thou Shall Test if you Catch yourself Assuming

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The best lessons to learn are the ones that happen to yourself. This week, I experienced a schoolbook example of such a thing. I was making a bunch of assumptions and didn’t care to verify them. Today, I shake my head in disbelief.

What happened?

On Monday, 9 April, Ajay wrote in a short tweet that he was disappointed with the syllabus of an online course. The course was published here:

and the syllabus here:
(it has already changed to the better in the current version)

I then asked him what he meant by “disappointed”. I was also shocked because I knew that the online course was supposed to be given by Savita Munde whom I hold in high regard as a serious tester. I have been coaching Savita for some time and I just couldn’t believe what was happening.


Both James Bach and Michael Bolton followed up with their own tweets supporting Ajay. I became angry and wrote back:


Following that I had a back and forth discussion by e-mail with James Bach where I tried to defend Savita. My point was that since she is a serious tester she cannot be criticized like that. I couldn’t stop. I was angry.

Apparently my thinking was shadowed as well. All the time I did not talk to Savita directly although it was exactly what I should have done. In the meantime the syllabus was changed and when I eventually talked to Savita she told me that the syllabus was a mistake and not published by her.

Always test your own assumptions

I am glad this happened to me because it taught me again that I need to be on guard against my own assumptions.

BTW: Read also Ajay’s blog post about it. I bow to him for his deeply human and fair reaction to the whole story.

After some iterations of thinking I came up with the following decision graph. It may be of great help the next time I make an assumption. The good thing is that it is quite simple.


Has something similar happened to you? Tell me in the comments below. I am very much interested.

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