Stubborn Cat

There’s a cat down the road from me who is so stubborn it’s untrue. He refuses to budge – literally. He saunters out to the middle of the road and sits there with his smug little smile taunting drivers and cyclists. He refuses to move out of the way and it’s not uncommon to have to mount the kerb to get past him.

I don’t know his name but I do know he is stubborn. I generally like cats, my parents have several and one thing I have noted is that they are all fairly stubborn. I think it’s in their nature.

It’s interesting how the testing community seem to think of themselves as stubborn and argumentative. I too believe these to be traits of the majority of testers and often with good reason. We sometimes need to be this way to get the job done. It’s often necessary. There are times when you need to be stubborn, to stand your ground and to hold on to your opinion in the face of pressure and resistance.

However, when we are so stubborn that we refuse to move we could be endangering the project and ruining our reputations. If we refuse to move and accept new ways of thinking we may become side tracked, irrelevant and a nuisance. Just like the cat.

I’ve recently been at the receiving end of testers who can’t/won’t accommodate new information and who genuinely do believe it is their way or no way. Testers who can be quite nasty and cutting about other testers who don’t subscribe to certain ways of thinking. It’s at times like this when it feels like people are no longer stubborn and argumentative to be constructive but are moving ever so close to arrogant and at times, woefully wrong. But we are here to serve the stakeholders, to offer a service that people get value from, not to be argumentative and stubborn. Not to cause a nuisance. Not to be seen as the awkward one.

It’s a fine line to tread between being focused on quality and downright stubborn. Tread it right and your testing will flourish.

10 Replies to “Stubborn Cat”

  1. on my first testing job, I gave this recommendation that the product was not fit to go live. They ignored my advice… I was livid! I was the black cat, and I had just been stepped over…

  2. Thanks for the comment Anne-Marie. That sounds familiar. There are times when even being the stubborn cat we will all get trampled on. But I guess if the business decide to ship – let it be on their heads it falls.I too used to be like that. I would stomp around and not sign the paper giving the all clear. I guess at some point I realised it wasn’t my decision and stopped getting so annoyed with poor releases. I guess I stopped standing in the middle of the road and not moving and instead stood by the side, still making it clear I was not happy but allowing the release to go ahead.Thanks for the comments Anne-Marie.

  3. I once knew a stubborn cat. He was so stubborn & whilst sometimes friendly he could occasionally bite or just like to wind people up now fluffing his tail across their faces. This cat eventually got to annoy everyone so much that his nine lives did in fact expire.When the budget got cut he was the first out the door! Cat’s can be really expensive you know 😉

  4. Rob,Seems to be an old blog, but it is very inspirational. You hit the nail right on head. You exactly described how we as tester must `act´. It’s indeed a fine line to tread between being focused on quality and downright stubborn.Darren, thanks for bringing this one up from the past. Gives me good inspiration for the start of this new year (2011)

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