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Test Automation and Test Process Modelling - an evolutionary and pictorial explanation

Alan Richardson's Blog - Sat, 23/09/2017 - 08:28
TLDR; Historically we modelled testing as something that we wanted to automate, but the tools didn’t help, so we automated entity management and that has led to a mistaken view of “Test Automation” instead of “Automatization as part of a software development and testing process”.



  • Why do we talk about Test Automation the way we do?
  • Why do we talk about 100% Test Automation?
  • How do we model automation as part of our Test Process?
  • How does Testing provide information?
  • Why was a Waterfall Test Process Different from an Agile Process?
  • Why, in reality, both processes are fundamentally the same.
  • How we modelled “Test Automation” incorrectly, and an alternative way to model it.
All this and more…



What does testing do? Provides Information?This is what we are told.




We need to Unpack this model to understand ‘How’.

How Does Testing Produce Information?


  • Testing produces data
  • Testers model the data and communicate that model as information
I think of “Information” as something that surprises me. Data only does that when I try to compare it or fit it into a model that I already have.

When communicating to other people, we have to ‘model’ the data as Information, so they can compare it against their model of the subject being discussed.

But its only really Information if it helps them expand or refine their model, otherwise it is just noise or data.

We want the testing process to provide information. Testers, and the people doing testing, convert the data into information.

Basic model of a Testing Process


  • This is a very Organic Model of testing
  • Not very easy to Automate this
  • Lots of learning and model building based on observations and thinking
  • Comparing a model of a system to the system in order to evaluate the system, create and refine our model, and communicate that model to others
Modelling is key to an effective testing process.

A Traditional Model of Testing Process


  • This is what I learned as a junior tester
  • But I wasn’t told that the requirements etc. were actually Models
    • This is a key element to understand
  • Also this model makes the process look very linear, which makes it very structured and with a formalised set of entities
    • How tempted are you to try and automate this process?
    • Much more tempted than the more organic, cyclical and learning based process shown earlier.
That’s a bit big, so let’s simplify it, to make it easier to understand


  • This is a high level abstraction of the testing process
  • But very linear so loses all the notion of feedback and cyclical learning
  • Clearly a ‘Test’ process since the word is everywhere
  • If we discover any parts of this model that we can automate we will think of it as automating Testing
Now let’s look at that again


  • Analysis is not particularly easy to automate
  • Even if we code the Test Scripts we still need someone to write the code
  • But we have formalised the entities and we could create standard templates, if it flowed through a process we could create these in advance and run the scripts later
On waterfall projects these entities became necessary because we could not compare our Model of the System to the actual System as it was being developed because it wasn’t ready or runnable for years.

The batch process of development forced, a batch production of Analysis materials that we had to formalise to manage them effectively and cope with multiple people joining/leaving projects over the course of the years of development.

This is not really the sort of efficient process that you want to model in tooling. But that’s what we did.

Let’s explore execution in more detail


  • early automation tools were hard to use, and expensive, and we didn’t always write systems in ways the tools could automate (accessibility layers, standard controls, etc.)
  • we could make this process more automated with tool support - forms to fill in to represent the standard entities, databases to store all the data
  • since tools were expensive, people performed the execution
  • but people are expensive
    • so we need cheaper people do to this, therefore make it easy for ‘anyone’ to run these scripts
We really wanted to automate, but couldn’t, so we used all the ‘words’ associated with automating. But then hired people as script interpreters and executors. We skipped all the ‘learning and model building during execution’ part of the organic test process.

What about Reporting?


  • That’s data - not information
  • We can easily automate data creation
    • meaningless graphs, standard metrics, it will all look very professional
We can actually track ‘progress’ against plan, because we built everything we were going to do in advance.

Obviously this impacted our ability to adapt as we learned about the software, but we were finding defects and had created so much material to work through that no-one seemed to really mind. And anyway - many projects were cancelled either before testing started, or during the test execution phase that it didn’t seem to matter.

Very easy to create a process support tool to do this


  • And look, we just “automated” 50% of our ‘Test Process’
  • Later we will figure out how to automatically execute those test scripts
  • But we can only track ‘coverage’ against scripts and cases
    • some people will then use those numbers to ‘scientifically’ predict:
      • how much time is left with testing?
      • how many defects are left in the rest of the application?
In order to say we have coverage - we can use the ‘conditions’We just designed a pretty standard test management tool:




It is easy to see at this point how people might say they can Automate Testing

Let’s re-instate modelling


The automated flow is predicated on the notion of “Test Cases” rather than modelling and learning

But we have things in the Models that we haven’t really scripted against, and exploring them and comparing against the system actually makes more sense.

Bring back exploration


We just added Information and learning back into the Testing Process.

We did actually do this in Waterfall projects because we knew the scripts didn’t cover everything, so as we exectuted them we also did other stuff on the side that we couldn’t tell anyone about to actually make sure we tested the application. In order to raise defects we had to either amend and fudge the scripts or add new test cases and scripts to cover the situation we just tested.

We could have just changed the process, and in some projects we did and formally adopted exploratory testing in combination with scripted testing.

Eventually we stopped writing such detailed Test Scripts. And as tools to automate applications became better and cheaper we were able to write those Test Scripts as code and assert on specific conditions we wanted to check on a more regular and repeatable basis. We called that “Test Automation”.

What if we make it clear what is ‘testing’ and what is Automatizable?The model that we automate is a subset of the model which we use for exploration.




The model shown here:

  • Requirements
  • Examples
  • Flows
  • etc.
Maps on pretty well to ATDD, BDD, Specification by Example and Model Based Testing. And we can see that those processes are a subset of our broader model coverage that we want the Test Process to target, fortunately the Exploration process can target that.

And really we are no longer automating “Tests” or “Testing”We are automating those conditions or requirements or examples or acceptance criteria that we want to see continually checked and asserted on, and the execution data continually reported.

“Test” was just an artifact left over from our earlier models.




If you model the process that you work with, or the processes you've been involved in, what conclusions do you draw from your experience? What information do you gain that will help you refine your model of Testing?
Extras
  • All the images in this post were created using GraphViz - specifically WebGraphViz
  • The Dot source code for all the images is embedded as html comments within the source code of this page.
Bonus Free Video
Bonus Free Slideshare
Re-thinking Test Automation and Test Process Modelling (in pictures) from Alan Richardson

Categories: Agile, Software Testing

How to put the S (for security) into your IoT development

Test And Verification Services Blog - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 06:29

The internet of things has the potential to be enormous for both consumers and businesses, but security has to be at the heart of every stage of the process.This article summarizes the key actionable areas for building security into IoT development and describes why IoT needs built-in security.

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Find out how T&VS IoT services help organization overcome the safety, security & privacy challenges and deliver secure connected products to the market.

The post How to put the S (for security) into your IoT development appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

How to Make Autonomous Vehicles Reliable

Test And Verification Services Blog - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 06:25

The number of unknowns in automotive chips, subsystems and entire vehicles is growing as higher levels of driver assistance are deployed, sparking new concerns and approaches about how to improve reliability of these systems. This article summarizes why connectivity is the essential ingredient for reliable, safe autonomous vehicles.

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Learn more about how T&VS Automotive Verification and Test solutions help to address the challenges of delivering safe, secure and compliant automotive products.

The post How to Make Autonomous Vehicles Reliable appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

Understanding Portable Stimulus Graphs

Test And Verification Services Blog - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 06:22

Today, when the EDA vendors talk about the Portable Stimulus Standard (“PSS”) they throw around the term “graph based” as if that somehow clarifies everything. They usually don’t bother to describe what it means, beyond it being some simple mathematical model.

Some vendors even confuse it with the term “graphical”.To simplify this confusion, this article from EDA Café explores how PSS relates to graphs and how those graphs relate to other similar graph-based models already used within the industry.

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Find out how T&VS portable stimulus specification addresses today industry verification challenges.

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Categories: Software Testing

Putting the Brakes on Cyber-Attacks for IoT and Connected Cars

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 08:41

The rapid innovation in IoT and autonomous technology has been impressive and bringing increased connectivity to consumers and enhancing their lives in the process. Unfortunately, eagerness for autonomous technology has resulted in security becoming an afterthought in many cases and therefore, there are many vulnerabilities in today’s connected cars.

This article describes why the IoT and automotive industries should realize the importance of robust security strategies to protect the connected cars from cyber threats.

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Learn more about how T&VS Automotive Verification and Test solutions help to address the challenges of delivering safe, secure and compliant automotive products.

The post Putting the Brakes on Cyber-Attacks for IoT and Connected Cars appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

The Importance of Agile Methodologies in Software Testing

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 08:34

Today, most of the organizations are following agile software development processes. Still, they are struggling to deliver the software timely. The old mindset of testing the software or application after the development has been done is not successful these days. With the advent of automation testing and agile methodologies, testing is carried out simultaneously with the development. This article describes on why we should consider carrying out the testing with development.

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Find out how T&VS Software Testing services help you to establish a cost-effective software testing facility that delivers improved quality, reduces risks and time-to market.

The post The Importance of Agile Methodologies in Software Testing appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

6 Ways to Strengthen Web App Security

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 08:26

The tremendous growth in web application deployments has come together with concerns around security. Web application security needs to be addressed at every stage of the software development life cycle (SDLC) and even after an application has been deployed into the production environment. This article highlights the tips on how to improve your web application security and outlines how to secure web application from vulnerabilities.

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Find how T&VS Web Application Security Services enable you to prevent breaches by protecting and securing your data against web attacks, and vulnerabilities.

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Categories: Software Testing

Data Storage: The Solid-State Drive (SSD)

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 08:03

To take advantage of the escalating market growth of SSD devices, engineers must accelerate the development cycle and avoid the risk of delivering under-tested and low-performing chips. Verification Consultant, Lauro Rizzatti reviews the state-of-the-art in solid state drives (SSDs) and propose a methodology for the verification and validation of the SSD controller, which is the most critical part of an SSD drive design.

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Find out how T&VS Verification services help to meet the challenging requirements with respect to performance, flexibility and verify the today’s complex designs effectively.

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Categories: Software Testing

Top Healthcare IoT Concerns Include Interoperability, Security

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 07:46

Healthcare IoT expansion requires organizations to consider how devices fit their current and future health IT infrastructures. As organizations continue to adopt IoT solutions, vendors need to become more flexible as accommodating different types of connected devices.

This article explores why healthcare interoperability and security is increasingly a key industry issue, especially with the rise of connected medical devices.

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Find how T&VS Healthcare IoT services help manufacturers and customers to securely design and develop smarter healthcare systems.

The post Top Healthcare IoT Concerns Include Interoperability, Security appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

The main difference between Automated and Manual Software Testing

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 07:43

Undoubtedly, software testing is a large domain, but it can be categorised into two main areas: manual testing and automated testing. Testing of software can be done in both methods, but it’s totally depends on the project requirement,and which testing method will be benefited to the project.

This article outlines how to choose that which type of testing is useful in a situation and outlines the pros and cons of automated and manual software testing.

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Find out how T&VS Software Testing services help you to establish a cost-effective software testing facility that delivers improved quality, reduces risks and time-to market.

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Categories: Software Testing

How to Build an IoT Chip

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 07:38

This article from Semiengineering describes the strategies for dealing with conflicting requirements, relying on pre-integrated and pre-verified subsystems, and a growing need for better security and reliability.

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Find how T&VS IoT Security services provide an efficient and cost-effective solution for companies to quickly identify and trace technical and logical vulnerabilities in their applications.

The post How to Build an IoT Chip appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

Converting Legacy USB IP to a Low Power USB IP

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 07:35

Two common queries that customers pose to a design house is whether an existing or new IP can be made “low power” or if “power aware” verification can be carried out on an IP. This article from Mentor Graphics summarizes how to convert USB IP to a low power USB IP.

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Find out how T&VS Verification services help to meet the challenging requirements with respect to performance, flexibility and verify the today’s complex designs effectively.

The post Converting Legacy USB IP to a Low Power USB IP appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

Cyber criminals leverage security negligence in IoT devices

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 19/09/2017 - 13:08

Today, most of the IoT devices are being compromised and leveraged for a variety of purposes by cyber criminals. Unfortunately there is no magic wand that we can wave to instantly protect the entire infrastructure and thus further compromise of IoT devices is almost certain. This article highlights the challenges that IoT presents in the security arena.

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Find how T&VS IoT Security services provide an efficient and cost-effective solution for companies to quickly identify and trace technical and logical vulnerabilities in their applications.

The post Cyber criminals leverage security negligence in IoT devices appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

Why Software Testing Matters

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 19/09/2017 - 12:55

To understand the value of testing, developers should think about testing from the user’s perspective. This article explores what is the purpose of software testing and outlines what constitutes an effective software test.

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Find out how T&VS Software Testing services help you to establish a cost-effective software testing facility that delivers improved quality, reduces risks and time-to market.

The post Why Software Testing Matters appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

Designing for safety and security in a connected system

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 19/09/2017 - 12:51

Good embedded software has always been designed for both safety and security. However, connectivity has introduced intolerable levels of security vulnerability in safety-critical applications such as medical, autonomous vehicles, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This article describes why connectivity has added a big new concern to embedded systems design that requires extra emphasis on security and safety.

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Find out how T&VS IoT services help organization overcome the safety, security & privacy challenges and deliver secure connected products to the market.

The post Designing for safety and security in a connected system appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

A Delicate Choice – Emulation versus Prototyping

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 19/09/2017 - 12:39

With today’s technologies, you can have both options, prototype and emulate. As emulation methodologies become more popular and affordable for a variety of different-sized SoC/ASIC projects, the question arises as to why emulation should be used in areas where high-speed prototyping is still the main hardware verification technique performed. This article describes the main difference between emulation and prototyping.

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Find out how T&VS Hardware Emulation services allow verifying the robustness of a design and helps optimize the design for improved performance.

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Categories: Software Testing

DVCon Europe 2017 & Accellera’s SystemC Evolution Day. 16-18 October, Munich Germany.

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 19/09/2017 - 11:29

The Design and Verification Conference (DVCon) Europe is the leading European event covering the application of languages, tools and intellectual property for the design and verification of electronic systems and integrated circuits and is sponsored by Accellera Systems Initiative.

Mike Bartley
Founder & CEO, TVS

As a member of the DVCon Europe Technical Steering Committee I’m delighted to share some details of this year’s event, which includes the 2nd edition of Accellera’s “SystemC Evolution Day”.  This spinoff from DVCon Europe will take place on the 18th October at the Technical University of Munich.

DVCon Europe At-A-Glance

Highlights of the DVCon program include Keynotes on Monday from Mr. Horst Symanzik from Bosch Sensortech “Consumer MEMS Products: Quality rather than Commodity” and Mr. Berthold Hellenthal from Audi on Tuesday about “Driving Virtual Prototyping of Automotive Electronics.”

There are Panels on “The Best Tools for Driving Safety and Security in Automotive Applications” and “Intelligent Automation: How to Decide What to and What not to Automate?

For the first time, DVCon Europe will also feature a 5G special interest session, with industry experts from Intel, Nokia and Rohde&Schwarz, who will provide insights on the path to 5G, highlight Spectrum opportunities and challenges, and offer also a Test & Measurement perspective for the emerging next generation of cellular communication.

The DVCon keynotes, papers, presentations and panels unite the practical application of state-of-the-art design and verification techniques, applied to a broad mixture of different domains. Primary areas of this year’s program include System Level, Virtual Prototyping, Advanced Verification with UVM and Formal, Design for Functional Safety, IP Reuse, Mixed-Signal and Low Power Techniques.

SystemC Evolution Day 2017

The SystemC Evolution Day is a full-day technical workshop on the evolution of SystemC standards to advance the SystemC ecosystem. This is the second event after a successful first edition in May 2016.  In several in-depth sessions, current and future standardization topics around SystemC will be discussed in order to accelerate their progress for Accellera and IEEE standard’s inclusion.

  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017
  • Technical University of Munich
  • FREE to Attend (Registration Required)
  • Additional Information

 

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Categories: Software Testing

The Internet of Things Invades Physical Security

Test And Verification Services Blog - Mon, 18/09/2017 - 08:14

The world of physical security systems is being invaded by multiple new and emerging technologies. Given the growing capabilities of these emerging IoT devices, they are likely to transform electronic security systems that protect physical assets. This article provides the further insight on IoT and how it impacts physical security.

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Find out how T&VS IoT services help organizations effectively build a foundation of trust, security and safety in the IoT devices.

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Categories: Software Testing

Developer! Developer! Developer! Tester!

James Thomas' blog - Mon, 18/09/2017 - 05:58

Last weekend, one of the testers from my team was speaking at Developer! Developer! Developer! East Anglia, a .NET community event. Naturally, because I'm a caring and supportive manager — and also as it was in Cambridge, and free — I went down to have a look. Despite not being a developer, it wasn't hard to find something of interest in all five sessions, although it's a shame the two talks on testing were scheduled against each other. Here's thumbnails from my notes.

Building a better Web API architecture using CQRS (Joseph Woodward): Command Query Responsibility Segregation is a design pattern that promotes the separation of responsibility for reading data (query) from writing data (command). A useful intro to some concepts and terminology for me, it went deeper into the code than I generally need, and in a language and libraries that I'm unfamiliar with. I found Martin Fowler's higher-level description from 2011 more consumable.

I do like listening to practitioners talk about topics they care about, though. Particularly enjoyable here was the shared relief in the room when it became apparent that many of the attendees, despite being advocates of CQRS, found that they all violate a core principle (commands don't return data) in favour of practicality from time to time (e.g. when creating users and returning a unique ID).

Client-side web performance for back-end developers (Bart Read): Chrome's developer tools got a massive big-upping, particularly the memory monitoring and task manager. Bart provided an interesting list of heuristics for improving user experience on the client side which included: load only enough to show the first thing that that the user needs to see, do the rest lazily; inline what you can for that first load; if you can fit it into a single packet even better because that reduces the cost of latency; It's the latency, stupid; load all adverts last, really last, totally the last thing that you do on a page, honestly never do anything with adverts until you've done every other thing you have to do.

Visual note-taking workshop (Ian Johnson): I've thought a lot about my own note-taking over the years and I know that it's heavy on text. I'm very comfortable with that, but I like drawing and I'm interested in trying sketchnoting to see whether going out of my comfort zone can give me another perspective or perhaps technique to roll into my usual approach.

This talk was a primer: some basic iconography, some suggestions for placement (corners for metadata such as dates, speaker name, conference); thoughts on prominence (bold, colours, boxes, underlines, ...); reminders that sketch notes are not about realism; exhortations to just go for it and not worry if it doesn't work out; and this rule of thumb for ordering noting activity: content then boxes then colours. (Related material from Ian is here.)

Testing Demystified (Karo Stoltzenburg): Karo's talk is the reason I was at the conference but she's written about it already in Three Ways to get Started with (Exploratory) Testing as a non-Tester so I won't say more. I will, however, mention that I took the opportunity to practice my new-found sketchnoting skills in her talk. As expected, I found it hard to resist writing a lot of text.

Monitoring-First Development (Benji Weber): Unruly are an XP shop applying XP development practices in a wider context. In the product they'll write a failing test then code to make it pass, and in production they'll write a failing monitor (such as checking for equivalence between two data items using a tool such as Nagios) and then implement whatever functionality provides the data for the monitor. A neat idea, and it works in their context. (Similar content here in an earlier lightning talk by Benji.)

I was really impressed with DDD: 300 attendees, friendly atmosphere, just enough organisation, free, and good spread of talks.
Image: DDD!
Categories: Software Testing

How to overcome Impostor Syndrome and use your brain's learning mechanisms to improve your public speaking skills

Alan Richardson's Blog - Fri, 15/09/2017 - 12:24
TLDR; I presented a workshop at the Sigist on 14th September 2017 on Public Speaking. Unpack what “Impostor Syndrome” means to you, to identify actionable steps to improve your public speaking. You can rewire your brain by revisiting ‘normal’ experiences of speaking in public as public speaking.






I presented a workshop at the Sigist on 14th September 2017 on Public Speaking. I found it very useful to hear different experiences of public speaking and the kind of things that people find difficult and the kind of things that people find easy.

On WorkshopsThe great thing about a workshop is that it can go in different directions than you, the host, things that it might.

For any workshop:

  • I create enough material that if there is no engagement then I have enough content to cover the time
  • I build in flexibility to respond to what the participants state their needs as
  • I use the material as a base to keep the workshop going
If we don’t get through all the slides in a workshop that is fine, we add value through the discussions.

You can find the slides online

How to improve your public speakingTake advantage of opportunities that come your way.

I wanted to evaluate how I speak in public, so when the opportunity to host a workshop came my way, I jumped on the opportunity.

During the conference, one of the speakers didn’t attend, so I took the opportunity to fill in and present a 25 minute version of a 45 minute Keynote that I will be presenting next week. This gave me the chance to learn in public a little more about the talk I’m planning.

I gain, by presenting, and I try and add as much value in my content to the audience as I can. Win Win.

Impostor SyndromeOne thing that cropped up in the discussions in the workshop was the notion of Impostor Syndrome.

Which people often describe in many ways:

  • I don’t feel experienced enough to discuss the topic
  • My ideas might not be good enough
  • People might react the wrong way
  • Other people can present this better
And all of that justification is fine, it help maintain the illusion of a ‘thing’ called “Impostor Syndrome”. Which is a label given to a fairly ordinary and common set of experiences.

But…

As soon as we have a label, we can agree to identify with the label rather than explore the process that the label is abstracting.

‘Labeling’ is described well in Chris Voss’s book “Never Split The Difference” where Chris Voss describes his experiences as an FPI Hostage Negotiator and applies his learning to sales and negotiation processes.

One technique described was ‘Labeling’ where the negotiator describes the experience of the other person, as the negotiator perceives it:

“It looks like you don’t want to come out. It seems like you worry that if you open the door, we’ll come in with guns blazing”

The negotiator didn’t say “You don’t want to come out”:

  • which is ambiguously also a command
  • the other party might have to correct by defending their situation
  • might be taken as an identity assessment “you are someone who does not want to come out”
This provides a common base of understanding, which the other party can correct without having to defend. And if they do so then the negotiator labels the new information.

But as a label it means we don’t have to deal with all the baggage or reasons which led up to the current situation.

In The Structure of Magic Bandler and Grinder look at the language patterns in therapy and describe techniques that therapists use to unpack the abstractions, ambiguities and labels that clients use to describe their problems. By unpacking them the therapist can identify behaviour changes or suggestions to offer the client.

As a ‘reversal’ of this, in “Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson” Bandler and Grinder explore the use of ambiguity as a way of communicating with multiple levels of meaning and to use the labeling style of communication described by Chris Voss to create a base of understanding which may not actually have a shared experience but is accepted as a shared understanding for both parties.

If we want to improve:

  • unpack the labels that we use to describe experience
  • address the behaviours and processes that are described
Use your brain’s learning mechanisms to helpI think that ‘fear of public speaking’ is a learned response, and often we have generalised a bunch of disparate experiences into a label of “I can’t speak in public”.

Since our brain very effectively weaves together lots of experiences to draw this conclusion we can help it generalise in a different way.

Think of all the successful experiences you have had with public speaking:

  • when you answered your phone as you were walking down the street
  • when you spoke to your friends in a bar or restaurant
  • when you spoke to your team in a team meeting
  • when you spoke to your family at a family gathering
If you mentally label these as ‘Public Speaking’ then your brain will start to collate them and then you can create a different base experience for your brain to build labels from.

That might help you take opportunities for public speaking when they arise.

Bonus YouTube VideoI expand on these points in the following YouTube video:


And you can find the slides online


Learning in Public - A How to Speak in Public Workshop from Alan Richardson

Categories: Agile, Software Testing

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