Do you really need it?

Drooling about it
Paul knocked a few times on the door. And opened it slowly.
“Are you busy?”
“Yes, but I can make time for you.”
“We’ve got an open door policy, but your door was closed. So..”
Paul waited a few moments.
He gestured to George.
“George said, that I have to bring something to your attention. And ..”
George’s mobile phone went off.
“Excuse me.”
George left the room with the phone to his ear.

“Yes Paul.”
He looked to the door with a desperate look.
“I can wait.”
“What is that piece of paper? You want to show it to me?”
“Actually ..”, Paul started.
He showed it to his manager.
“That’s funny: the phone booth cannot be used.”

Paul pulled himself together:
“Within a month our company will release the car call service. So customers can call their cars and ask, whether enough fuel is in the gas tank.”
Paul’s manager nodded.
“At the moment we are focused on apps on smart phones. We are also testing normal phones. Why not test phone booths?”
“How big is the chance, that a business man calls his car from a phone booth?”
“Pretty small”, Paul admitted. “But there are enough people, who would like to publish a bug about the service on the Web.”
“So your point is…”
“Our slogan is: Your Drive Is Our Drive. People do not like to think about a slow walk to the gas station. Especially after a failed call from a phone booth.”

Ten minutes later George asked Paul:”How did it go?”
“Fine. I have budget to hire a phone booth.”
“How did your phone call go?”
“Nobody called.”
“You mean: no one.”
“Yes” George smiled.
Paul began with: “You are …”
“I am your coach, not your spokesman.”
Paul objected with: “I might not find the proper words to express myself or not find the right arguments. I might miss my drive.”
George just raised an eye brow.

Testing in it
During the training introduction of software testing I told the delegates about a special object in the neighbourhood.
“If you drive your car from Rijswijk to Rotterdam, then you see a huge building next to the highway near Delft. It is blue and yellow.”

I continued with telling, what most people thought. That it was just another furniture shop of a well known brand.
“It is a concept center. In this building ideas for this brand are developed and tested.”

How to Plan a Visit To Amsterdam

Board games are a great way to pass time with children. One of my favourites is Amsterdam. In this game you win, if you are the first one, who have visited 6 random chosen touristic places in the Dutch capital.

Planning as usual

At the beginning of the game my children and I had each 6 cards with touristic places to visit in Amsterdam. So I told them to find the places on the map. Then they had to plan their visit using the canals with a boat. This was more difficult. With some help from me they planned a boat ride by making a stack of 6 cards.

Replanning as usual

In the next step each player placed two bridge blocks, which can be compared with road blocks for cars. Six bridge blocks had a great impact on the planned tours. The ideal routes were blocked or even worse, touristic places were blocked. So the whole process of stacking cards began again. My children did not complain. 

Planning in progress

During the game the bridge blocks can be moved by players. So carefully crafted routes became obsolete. This time I was smart: I adviced my kids to plan a route within a small area of their boats.

Heuristic as a planning

After visiting a touristic place the player gets a yellow card. This can be a nice event like moving bridge blocks or distressing one like going to a boat of another player. My planning advice changed to: go to the touristic place, which can be reached by passing a minimum of bridges.

Planning as a service

So long planning saves time and reduces frustration, it is fine with me.