Self-Education: The R.S.W.P. heuristic

In 2010 I read a blog post about it takes like 10.000 hours of practice in a profession to become a master in it. This quote seems to be taken from the Book „Outliers“ from Malcom Gladwell.

This instigated me to form a special kind of New Year resolution for 2011; that is to track my hours which I spent with testing. I also wanted to cover all aspects, which seem related to testing to me.

So in mid January 2011 I started my spreadsheet program and did a post mortem for the last weeks.
Quickly I found a pattern for myself and started to make rows by week and category.

The categories I saw were Reading, Speaking, Writing, Participating.
From that time I tried to find some activity in each of them per week.

Life distracted me quite good since then and I am still not back on track, but that is a personal story.

Recently I found a topic on STC „Self-Education: where to start from which reminded me of the resolution I had (ironic enough, it went the way a lot of New Year resolutions seem to go), which in return motivated me to make a little blog post out of it.

By actively focusing on these categories and trying to find an activity a tester can benefit on many levels.

I believe each tester should extend his skills and abilities; in that sense I am more a Generalist, then a Specialist.

For some that might be a suitable way, others prefer to get good in a few areas.
„Speaking“, especially in public, is probably difficult to get used to and get a „routine“.
But by speaking and actively interacting with people one can hone how to encounter arguments and advocate for his topic.

Since it was fun to jumble the PABLO heuristic together last time, I made a new heuristic for this.

I call it the „R.S.W.P.“ heuristic in the style of „R.S.V.P. = répondez s’il vous plaît  / Please respond“.

R.S.W.P = Reading, Speaking, Writing, Participating
Some activity examples for each part:

Reading = books, blogs, articles
Speaking = user groups, conference, videocast
Writing = blog, article, paper
Participating = communities, WT, conferences,  user groups

And last but not least: Testing (aka practicing) should always be a part of a tester.

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