Want change but don’t want to change

Filed under: Agile, — Tags: 5 y, Change, Impossible to automate, Small steps, Sustainable pace, Test automation — Thomas Sundberg — 2012-09-03

I have met several customers and potential customers that want to implement automated testing. They have been in very different areas; insurance, transport, telecom and so on.

One thing they have in common though, is that they want a change but they are reluctant to change.

One example was a potential customer that wanted to implement test automation. But it would be impossible to automate anything for first six month. I asked why this was the case and the answer I got was "It is impossible". Discussing the why was not possible in this particular case. I didn't even try to use 5 y to drill down to the root of the problem.

I understand that changing is hard and that there may be many obstacles to overcome before an implementation is done. But starting from the point it is impossible for the coming six months is just plain stupid and something I really cannot understand. It may be hard, it may be difficult. Impossible? I don't think so. You have to distinguish between hard, difficult and impossible. It's hard to move a pile of sand with a small spoon, but it's not impossible. You have to accept that you have to take baby steps and that it will take a long time. It's hard to run 100m in under ten seconds and for some it is impossible.

This reasoning reminds me a about someone that is overweight and want to lose weight. The same person does not want to change anything in his life style. Not change his diet, reduce the amount of food, not add some exercise. No changes. Except to lose weight. One efficient way to lose weight is to stop eating. This will be very effective but it may have unwanted consequences. You will probably die after short a while. This is an example of a large step. Reducing the size of each meal could represent a small step. You will not die if you reduce each portion with 5%. More of the same may be added later. Reduce your meals with another 5% after a couple of months. This will get you closer to your ultimate goal, to lose weight. What ever change you want, you must implement it using small steps and apply a sustainable pace.

If you don't change anything, nothing will change. Except the result of your current bad behavior. It will not be easier to take a small step towards a difficult goal if you wait six months. It will not be easier to lose wight six months from today if you don't change anything in your lifestyle. It will not be easier to start testing things automated if you wait six months.

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