A Rumsfeld Rectangle for test strategies

Donald Rumsfeld is famous (to me) for talking about the known knowns [1]. It was in 2002 where he talked about the absence of evidence on mass destruction weapons in Iraq. Add to that the angle of the unknown known, and I can call it the “Rumsfeld Rectangle“.

You could apply it in test strategy setting like this:

Rumsfeld Rectangle:

What do the stakeholders want from this test activity?

What do they Know

they want to Know

What do they Don’t Know

they want to Know

What do they Know

they Don’t want to Know

What do they Don’t Know

they Don’t want to Know

I have used the Rumsfeld Rectangle previously in The unknown unknown unexpressed expectations and How to spot defects. The tricky problems are (as always) in the areas of “there are things we do not know we don’t know” spot – as for Rumsfeld. Combing the desert showed the absence, not the presence of weapons (to rephrase Dijkstra [2]).

I – equally ignorant – do not believe [that I know anything] [3]

1: [ There are known knowns United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld |

[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know.But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

2: Dijkstra 1969: Testing shows the presence, not the absence of bugs

3: Piet Hein Seriously joking or joking seriously

Workshop facilitation using LEGO

As well known, LEGO is synonymous with “Play well” – for both kids and AFOLs. But seriously, LEGO is more than that, consider:

[LEGO Serious Play]

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY uses LEGO bricks and elements and a unique method where people are empowered to “think through their fingers” – unleashing insight, inspiration and imagination. In a very direct way, you will be able to see what everyone knows inside the company – and what they don’t know they know! Within a surprisingly short time, an organization can have a clear, shared direction with people who are confidently aligned and committed to a course of action.

Lean LEGO – The red brick cancer ]

If you would build a LEGO time line of your processes, would they be mostly red and yellow? Or would they be mostly green?

Besides the   where I elaborated on how LEGO mini figures could facilitate a discussion on both tester types and team skills. Recently I have had the personal opportunity to participate in a facilitation training, where LEGO bricks and figs was used to illustrate team members, represent user personas and user innovations. So the thing is – what do you need to get started? Choose your pieces by context: Customised Minifigures, city people or a huge pile of bricks?

Build a Tester Workshop

[ The Testing Planet – Issue 7 | March 2012 | Build a Tester Workshop ]

On tester types, Belbin and Myers-Briggs types, and custom LEGO figures – used for understanding how each person contributes to the diverse skills of the team. (Subscription required)

See also: A little tracking goes a long way