!Improving Your QA Curriculum

If only this article were more instructive: What Psychopaths Teach Us about How to Succeed

Traits that are common among psychopathic serial killers—a grandiose sense of self-worth, persuasiveness, superficial charm, ruthlessness, lack of remorse and the manipulation of others—are also shared by politicians and world leaders. Individuals, in other words, running not from the police. But for office. Such a profile allows those who present with these traits to do what they like when they like, completely unfazed by the social, moral or legal consequences of their actions.

Unfortunately, the article is more about the study of psychopaths and university students and parts of their brains that light up; maybe the book from which it is goes more into the teaching part and less into the learn from part.

Regardless of what we might want others to think, QA people are generally not psychopaths. Or maybe I’m projecting. Maybe I’m the normal one here, and you’re all crazy.

Regardless of your sanity, the one thing QA should learn from psycopaths, or should emulate from psychopaths, is a little detachment.

Because we walk a line between passionate advocacy for quality and madness. Because that advocacy is going to meet its limit. In some circumstances, it might be a high limit (a good job to find). In others, it’s a low threshold, such as We’ll release it with critical defects causing the application to crash and lose data, but we’ll fix it if anyone in the real world tries to use the SHIFT key, which nobody ever does.

At some point, one has to have the ability to turn off that paladin nature, that passionate advocacy for as near perfection as is at all possible, and throw up one’s hands and say, “Flooz it.” And not care any more. Because that sort of thing can eat you up. You can’t go into the position completely with that attitude (It is what it is.), otherwise you won’t push the team to be better. Not enough, anyway.

So it would have been helpful to have some insight into how to emulate psychopaths in that detachment, but of course, psychopaths don’t have the need to become detached at some point. They’re psychopaths, after all, which means they’re always detached. Their tips would be more akin to how to appear engaged to convince others to behave according to their needs and desires. That is, it would be more of a sales course. Certainly not project management, since project managers can’t make anyone behave.

So I guess I’ll just have to read some more Norman Vincent Peale, and do just the opposite of what he says. Again.

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