Ants can go into corners of tables and chair, which we humans might not be able to.
Ants can travel to any country without a passport or Visa (if they manage to slip into someone's baggage).
Ants can live anywhere and yet not pay rent or property tax.
Ants can eat junk food forever and live happily.
Doesn't all of them sound so obvious?
So, here is something that might not be so obvious about ants... Little creatures that we commonly refer to as ants have solved a problem that many testers today struggle to.
Have you heard a tester say, "I haven't tested this before / this is too complex / I don't know how to start testing it".
The important thing to note is that we might have heard it from our own mouth or heart and sometimes from others, too.
Here are some experiments that I did with ants to see how they respond to complexity:
I took an ounce of sugar, placed it near a colony of ants and observed what happened to the sugar I placed after a while.
My experiment resulted in each ant carrying a crystal of sugar and moved them to their nest. Sugar is all gone!
I placed a cake of size approximately 1000 times bigger than an ant in the same place and observed what happened to the cake.
This experiment resulted in each ant breaking the huge cake into smaller fragments and moved it to their nest bit by bit. Cake is all gone!
I put a piece of solidified sugar candy near the same colony, which was hard to break for an ant.
This experiment resulted in ants trying to break the candy to smaller segments, but probably the smart ants realized it to be complex than their earlier two assignments I gave them and then they all co-ordinated together and carried the candy to their nest. Candy is all gone!
I bet I could place a mammoth of food for them and they, without bothering about the complexity of it, would try moving it to their nest or create more nests and colonies to accomodate it or work a strategy to get it to their nest or much it as much as they can till the mammoth lies there...
Ben Simo, a wonderful tester you might already know, recently wrote a post titled Solving Intractable Problems and ended it beautifully by saying, "Start with what you recognize" - which I now think is what ants do instead of saying, "That food(work) is not for us, it is for bigger (skilled) ants"
After having done these experiments I was ashamed of my behavior of hesitating to test a product (which I did a couple of years ago) just because something appeared to be too complex or I thought I didn't know about the product or technology.
No, I said, *I* was ashamed and I am not going to ask if you were ashamed because you might have not done that.
After all they are ants and they don't have the super brains we have and lets ignore them folks and continue to live as happy as we are, complaining that things are complex.
Silly ants, they don't even know they are dealing with complexity. I think they should be ashamed of it.
Pradeep Soundararajan - http://testertested.blogspot.com - +91-98451-76817 - firstname.lastname@example.org
"Pradeep's first language is not English--his first language appears to be testing." -- Michael Bolton