The Power of Doubt - Becoming a Software Skeptic

"I don’t know".
 
These might just be the hardest words to say in any language. We avoid saying them, scared of coming across as doubtful and uncertain. This fear is understandable; we admire those who are knowledgeable and oozing with confidence - even more so in a professional context.
As testers, our team members and managers expect us to be firm and certain, providing clear answers. They want us to hand them that comforting blanket of certainty. Over the past years, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with that. I ended up having a hard time being sure of anything, to the extent that my confidence as a tester started suffering.
 
"You're rejecting certainty, just like Socrates", someone said. "That's skepticism. You're a tester, embrace it!". That sounded like a good way to get out of my little Socratic crisis, but it left me with a new challenge: how does one embrace skepticism, and how can this help me improve my testing? I wanted to get to the bottom of this and, for a year, decided to submerge myself in all things skeptic in hope of finding clues to help me with my testing and my struggles with doubt. It was a fascinating journey that brought me to both sides of the spectrum, ranging from hilosophy, religion, critical thinking to science and even pseudo-science. The latter proved to be a portal into the world of the odd, the awkward and the downright bizarre.
 
Now that I surfaced safely, it is time to reflect and make sense of what happened. I will tell the story of how I embraced skepticism and be came a proud and reasonable doubter. I will share how this influenced my testing and how I harnessed the power of doubt: by creating a portfolio of critical thinking heuristics that can be valuable addition to any human's toolbox.
 
 

Outline/structure of the Session

INTRODUCTION
THE DEEP DIVE
THE THEORY
THE TOOLKIT
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
HEURISTICS FOR HEALTHY SKEPTICISM
SKEPTICISM – THE PRACTICE
  - BE SKEPTICAL OF YOURSELF
  - BE SKEPTICAL OF CERTAINTY
      - THE FEELING OF KNOWING
      - NOT KNOWING
DOUBT AND SKEPTICISM IN TESTING
  - QUESTIONING
  - REJECTING CERTAINTY
  - NOT KNOWING
  - USING THE (SKEPTICAL) FORCE
THE REVALUATION OF DOUBT
CONCLUSION
A SKEPTIC MANIFESTO

Learning Outcome

I hope that after attending this session, people will be inspired to adapt a skeptical mindset, thinking differently about their work and the world in general. They will hopefully go away with the understanding that skepticism doesn't t just mean "doubt everything". It means "question everything", bearing in mind that some questions do have answers.

Target Audience

This session is suitable for all people involved with creating software. Since I am a tester, I speak from a testing angle, but the message is universally human

Requirements

Format of the slides: 16:9

I am playing videos with sound

 

schedule Submitted 5 months ago

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