Friday, June 02, 2006

Lessons Learned and Re-learned

This week I embarked on a search for one particular conference presentation I remember hearing at a testing conference a few years ago. This journey down memory lane took me through conference notebooks from the last 15 years.

I started seeing things that I had forgotten from software testing conferences since 1989. Of course, there's a lot of water under those bridges.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was talking with Rick Craig at StarEast about some of those conferences we were at a long time ago and he remarked about how interesting it is that many things are still the same in software testing. A test plan is still a test plan, management still doesn't "get it", we are still on the search for the "magic" test tool, etc.

There have also been some notable new things such as exploratory testing, pairwise testing, and agile methods that have added greatly to the software testing profession.

I could not help but wonder about how much of all of this collective testing knowledge has actually been put to use. I hope for the investment in presenting and receiving this information, it has been helpful to many people, but still I wonder...

I also saw presentation by many friends and remembered many fun times at the conferences with these people.

I've been an independent consultant for over 16 years now and last week I had to relearn a lesson forgotten. The exact lesson is not the important thing. The point is that we often take for granted what we have learned and we can forget even hard lessons over time if we don't revisit them occasionally.

Journaling is helpful for reviewing past lessons learned, but so is reflection. I may even embark on a project to write my own "lessons learned book" just for me.

The great thing is that after relearning this recent lesson, I feel it has burned in even deeper to my being. These are not trivial things. These can be life lessons as well as professional lessons.

How do you revisit your "lessons learned?"