…..Send in the clowns
Working with people you are comfortable with is important, and I take it as a sort of backhanded compliment that my colleagues felt comfortable to have a laugh at my expense.
I have a small habit of being able to relate most conversations to things that I have a keen interest in.
For example: “I remember this bug in Y2K” …. “Yeah, remember Chris Jericho’s Y2K gimmick?”
So, I’m going to set some context and let’s see if I can find a way to attach something to learn from it.
I love the combination of chocolate and orange, it’s my thing. Whenever I have been unwell, the food that I have craved first once my appetite returns, are Jaffa Cakes.
It was therefore a wonderful thing when I was bought ~120 Jaffa Cakes in total for my birthday this past month. The majority were McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes, but a few were from Marks & Spencer.
Obviously McVitie’s are the best – they are the originals after all (I did have to Google it to check).
I still have half of them left, but I am trying.
So what was the rouse?
We had a few conversations about who made the best ones, and also dabbled with different flavours…..although, is it Jaffa if there’s no orange involved?
Then, I went away on holiday for half a week…..
What could possibly go wrong? We will find out later……
One of my colleagues went to TestBash Manchester this month, by all accounts it was a wonderful conference and so he mentioned a desire to provide some feedback to the whole test team.
I’m all on-board with that, so freed up the agenda in the scheduled test team meeting, one week to the day after I returned from holiday.
So, on my return my colleagues were keen to talk more about the Jaffa Cakes; the box of 100 remained on my desk.
We walked to the local Lidl and bought some more to do a taste comparison.
It was all a little fun.
I professed my preference for the McVitie’s ones.
They asked for my scores and I was happy to partake and indulge in conversations about it.
Me:I’m not quite a Jaffa Cake connoisseur, but I know what I like in a good Jaffa Cake
The presentation went really well, there were a lot of really good takeaways (keep an eye on https://www.ministryoftesting.com/dojo/testbash for the talks to go up on the Ministry of Testing Dojo).
We were a little pressed for time, as I had failed to book the room for long enough.
The final slides came up, revealing some Jaffa Cake images.
I had been eating Aldi Jaffa Cakes, from a McVitie’s box and proclaiming them to be the best.
Yes, that is a hardware lab and yes a lot of colleagues knew.
So how can this be pulled back to become anything like a tech related blog post and not just poking fun at me?
A little bit.
- I had an instinctive bias toward a particular brand
- I was blind to some quite obvious differences (see 12 in one pack and 10 in another)
- Manipulation of the situation – my colleagues were overly keen to discuss Jaffa Cake comparisons, and stroked the ego of the Jaffa Cake connoisseur
- The plan only worked because of the focus and work of several people working together
- The reveal was done with impecable timing
The lessons that I have learned, that I can apply to my everyday job are:
- Assumptions can be misleading and more of a risk than some identified risks, tools such as the One Page Test Plan include a section for assumptions and risks for this reason
- Smoke and mirrors are incredibly powerful, it is easy to be misled by shiny and new things, or from a scenario that is only subtly different from the norm
- Bias drives us, sometimes to our detrement, know what you know, question what you know
- Teams working together make for a tangible impact
- Timing is everything