NLP techniques: anchor & swish. What can be applied to software testing?

I’ve missed blogging. I’ve missed writing. Well, writing what I feel like when the mood strikes which I cannot predict – either the topic or the timing which doesn’t work so well for editors. I’ve been on another one of my productivity kicks where I cut out lots of activities, burrow in and produce stuff. Stuff like articles, classes and assorted matters. But today I woke up super early today (super early is before 5am) before 7am is just early. It happens often enough. Sometimes I’m just very awake. I’ll get up thinking I’ll add an hour or two to my day and that will be great because I can get more done (my productivity-obsession runs deep) but as is often the case, that isn’t how I spent the “bonus” time. Instead I found my mind wandering about. Reading and then looking up related concepts and somehow found myself reading about neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) at 5:30am. Things like that happen.

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In 2006 when I started blogging, I vowed I would not let my blog became what I ate for breakfast and that my posts would have a WIFFM that was testing focused. So where’s the WIFFM in this?

Here’s one concept: If you never give your mind permission to wander and wonder to learn new things how do you expect to introduce new possibilities to your life or work?

Two of the techniques cited as part of NLP are anchoring and swish. I like this phrase on anchoring that I picked up on Wikipedia: “recalling past resourceful states.” What I find interesting about this is that I have long sensed certain feelings of being very awake and yet calm at times when I believe I am executing my best testing or writing. Perhaps the combination of wakefulness and calmness is just the right blend to achieve an ideal mental flow. A question to ponder: are there techniques I can adopt to get myself in that state more readily?

I want to investigate swish more to see what I can do with my procrastination problem which I’ve been slow to confess to. Swish is a technique to break or reduce bad habits. I wonder if the concept of swish might be applied to software testing – thinking about the concept from a more positive view. When I think about how to push my thinking in different directions, how to move out of one gear and into another – perhaps a swish technique could help.

James Bach talks about focusing and defocusing and that has helped me. Julian Harty has talked about applying DeBono’s six thinking hats and the concept physical representation of a hat has helped me. Mike Kelly who runs IWST(among many other activities) has a workshop coming up in November on focusing while doing exploratory testing. (I want to see if I can make it to that one.) Mike’s also blogged about NLP and so has Alan Richardson. But I’ve needed more or something else at times.

I get impatient with myself and frustrated when I feel the well is empty on one mental pathway and I’m trying to shift gears so that I can find alternate ideas and issues.

There is a precarious balance between giving myself permission to let my mind wander to discover new ideas or how to incorporate ideas (like NLP) into my own use and practice versus falling into the pit of procrastination.

A swish technique might work. I want to investigate these two techniques closer to see what I can learn and how I can fold those ideas into my work. And I wouldn’t have had those new ideas to explore if I wasn’t up super early. But now I have to get going – not physically thankfully but it is time for me to shift gears (swish). Today I have cell phone testing to tackle and I want to see what new ideas I can invent to detect issues (hoping to get into an anchored stated) before a product release launches (so incredibly soon).

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