Recently, I’ve been asked to make some comments on a book. I’m using a technique I ‘discovered’ in my early days of testing.
I am calling it the ‘Backwards Heuristic’.
In my early days of testing when I had to review documents, I lacked the confidence to speak out in review meetings. I quickly found out (rightly or wrongly) that to make a decent impression in a review, salient points had to made quickly before any team member came up with the same point. The main reason for this, most people had only read the first three chapters of a document, because they either a) lost interest in the document b) ran out of time or c) were not given suitable notice about the review. Consequently, beyond the first few chapters, most people had few or any real comment to make. In fact, review meetings often turned into an intensive discussion on the ‘introduction’, or the’ intended audience’.
So, I came up with a cunning plan, which I now call my backwards heuristic. What I did was always started reviewing documents from the last chapter to the first. My thought process was, most people never read the last chapters, so if anything was going to be missed, it was there. I was on a winner, by reviewing any document from the last chapter to the first, I most always had something to comment about that was unique and worth discussing. What’s more, it often took me less time to come up with something worthwhile, then if I had read the document from start to finish.
It's only now that I have gotten round to calling it ‘the backward heuristic’, mostly because I’m reviewing James Bach’s course on RST. However, perhaps this has been discussed by other people before? Or does it take a truly devious tester to think up such methods