The Gift of Not Knowing

I’m a passionate innovator, which might surprise you to hear from a Quality Engineer. My mind continually asks, “What If?” as I observe the world through the lens of assessing where risk resides.

One of the key tools I use as a Quality Innovator, which I hope to encourage you to embrace, is the gift of not knowing everything. So what does this mean? Of course, we don’t know everything.

None of us do. Well, when you bring that into laserbeam focus on a problem you are trying to resolve or something you are trying to overcome, the ability to live by these words “We don’t know what we don’t know” (WDKwWDK) enables a unique superpower, humility meets teachability.

I’ve created some of my best risk assessment tools in my automation development work using this WDKwWDK (We don’t know what we don’t know) approach.

Example: I wanted to create a way to audit every URL on a webpage. I had a ton of things to learn through this process.

1) How was I going to get the source of a webpage?

2) How was I going to parse all the links?

3) How would I test each link found during the parse?

4) What equaled a risk in one of these links?

5) How could this be done promptly?

6) How would I report the findings?

These, along with a dozen other questions, surfaced. I began with the first challenge, capturing the source code of the webpage. This opened up its own pandora’s box of challenges. I permitted myself to exercise the WDKwWDK approach, which removed much stress and enabled me to begin the work of exploration.

A few takeaways from the resulting efforts of this exploration eventually turned into what I call Automated Audits.

1) I was able to overcome all the challenges listed above.

2) This was one of the most significant risk reducers our automation would uncover daily to assist our Test Engineers.

3) I learned and built a new Automation Framework module for Automated Auditing.

4) Within a few years, we applied this framework to other areas that yielded positive results.

Along each step of this innovation process, I applied the WDKwWDK thinking, which released me to explore, learn, pivot where necessary

What are you facing in your Testing and Automation efforts that could use the superpower of WDKwWDK? Have the humility to recognize you don’t know everything right now and be teachable enough to learn through your experiments and mistakes. These are the attributes of most great inventors and innovators.

Your Fellow Quality Explorer,
Greg Paskal