This post from Farnam St had me thinking about what makes a professional software tester.
Most of us are just amateurs.
What’s the difference? Actually, there are many differences:
- Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.
- Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.
- Amateurs think they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.
- Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing them as a person. Professionals know they have weak spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.
- Amateurs value isolated performance. Think about the receiver who catches the ball once on a difficult throw. Professionals value consistency. Can I catch the ball in the same situation 9 times out of 10?
- Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.
- Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do.
- Amateurs show up to practice to have fun. Professionals realize that what happens in practice happens in games.
- Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.
- Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.
- Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals focus on getting the best outcome.
- Amateurs focus on first-level thinking. Professionals focus on second-order thinking.
- Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance. Professionals understand when good outcomes are the result of luck.
- Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term.
- Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.
- Amateurs make decisions in committees so there is no one person responsible if things go wrong. Professionals make decisions as individuals and accept responsibility.
- Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility.
- Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day.
- Amateurs go faster. Professionals go further.
- Amateurs go with the first idea that comes into their head. Professionals realize the first idea is rarely the best idea.
- Amateurs think in ways that can’t be invalidated. Professionals don’t.
- Amateurs think in absolutes. Professionals think in probabilities.
- Amateurs think the probability of them having the best idea is high. Professionals know the probability of that is low.
- Amateurs think reality is what they want to see. Professionals know reality is what’s true.
- Amateurs think disagreements are threats. Professionals see them as an opportunity to learn.
Can anyone relate this to their testing career? How has it shown up in practice?