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Testers are people who think for a living. We have to be able to think effectively because thinking well is a foundation for all the other skills we work so diligently to acquire and improve. There are many kinds of thinking we might need to use at different times: creative, analytical, strategic, etc. Critical thinking is one kind that is central to our work.
There are many definitions of critical thinking. Here’s one:
"… the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."
(excerpt from a statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul, presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987.)
That’s a tall order! Every definition describes critical thinking as hard work, requiring constant self-discipline and self-reflection. Practising critical thinking is contrary to our natural habits and biases, and however hard we try we will likely never be able to do excellent critical thinking all the time. But there are tools and techniques that can help.
Join Fiona Charles for this Ask me Anything session to find out about things we can do and tools we can use to help us learn and develop essential critical thinking skills.
Some questions you might consider asking include:
- Why is critical thinking important for testing?
- Do I need to think critically all the time?
- Is critical thinking a skill that I can learn?
- How can I grow my critical thinking skills?
- What are some tools that can help me think critically?
- But…isn't the idea of critical thinking in software development kind of negative?
Fiona Charles is an independent coach, consultant, international speaker, and workshop designer/facilitator who is fascinated by the human aspects of software development and quality. She has been learning to practice and get better at critical thinking for 69 years, 42 of them in software development projects, teams, and conversations.