Things are the way they are because they got that way

attributed to Gerald Weinberg as quoted by Adam Goucher on [Set Course For Awesome (as a ‘Career Tester’)].

As Adam writes:

It was during RST with James Bach that I really understood that the role of a tester isn’t to ‘break the app’ or ‘find all the bugs’ but to provide information about the application. It wasn’t until some time later than I realized that it is actually more subtle than that. Our job is to provide information that matters. And how do we do that? Easy. We Shut Up and Listen. To what? That is also easy. To the people we are providing the information to. Now that I’ve completed PSL I can safely start quoting Gerry Weinberg so here are two useful things to remember.

  1. No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem
  2. Things are the way they are because they got that way

If you can start to understand the people in the system you are operating in, and why the [larger] system operates the way it does then you can provide them the information they need. But you can’t do that unless you stop, shut up, and listen.

See also: When it smells fishy, there is something fishy going on

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