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How Do I Think?

Reading Time: 1 minute

How do we decide if a desperately needed but problematic release can go live? How do we decide if we have done enough testing, or which parts can be safely skipped?
Why do so many projects drift into risk seeking and irrational behaviour?

The way we think and decide is central to every aspect of testing. Yet most of us have little understanding of how we think.

In this session, we examine situations where we are rational and others where we are irrational. We discover how the Nobel-prize winning Prospect Theory predicts when projects will switch from rational into irrational behaviour. We then use findings from Evolutionary Psychology to show how this switch is triggered by a survival response to periods of food scarcity. In other words, we are taking extra risks on projects today because our ancestors went hungry whilst hunting mammoths.

We also demonstrate that those complex decisions, which we believe we are making on a spreadsheet, have already been made using our gut feel, all before we even fill in that first spreadsheet cell.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Understand when and why you switch from rational to irrational thinking
  2. Learn how your decisions are affected by your feelings, and why you are better off because of it
Editor's Image

Andrew Brown

Dr Andrew Brown is a principal technical consultant at expleo. Recently, he has developed an independent line of research into understanding why we humans make the mistakes that lead to software defects. This research has produced a new view of defect reduction, several papers and a revamp of training and induction at SQS.

He has 25 years’ experience in the software industry. Previous roles include Head of QA at HMV, Head of QA at a financial software house and a test manager in Japan.

He holds a degree in Physics and Maths, an MBA from Warwick Business School and a doctorate from Imperial College.

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