Friday 31 August 2012

Unique Perspectives, Team-working, and August Blue Moon

As I continue to work towards the ISEB Foundation Certificate, the more it opens me to where potential strengths of employees with Asperger's Syndrome can be applied not only to testing software itself, but to other aspects of employment, including indirectly to team-working. Team-working is an aspect of employment that people with Asperger's Syndrome are still often stereotyped as having difficulty with, often preferring to work alone. However, unique individual perspectives that a person with Asperger's Syndrome may apply when working alone can be transferred with great effect to team situations.

An area of software testing where unique individual perspectives in employees with Asperger's Syndrome can be applied is within acceptance testing. In software testing speak, acceptance testing is primarily concerned with whether it works or not from the users perspective. How a piece of software works if often individual to the user, an example being if Microsoft released a new or updated version of MSWord, a user who simply wants to type and print a letter may assume it works OK, but a developer writing code may need the product to be robust, so from the latter perspective, the presumption that it works is no longer safe. So whether or not a piece of software works has a personal perspective. It may work for one individual's purpose, but not for another.

Thi    This is where a group of employees with Asperger's Syndrome can apply different and often unique perspectives to the project that they are working on as a team. The different perspectives can test different functions of the software which can give developers a good indication of how their product will or in some cases won't work with a diverse range of potential users. It is often said that people with Asperger's Syndrome are even more different as individuals than people not on the autistic spectrum, a quality that can indirectly apply to working in a team. Another quality that I like to think can help an employee with Asperger's Syndrome relate effectively to other team members is if they have experienced personal difficulties or hardships, including those in relation to their experiences of Asperger's Syndrome, it will help them understand and be sympathetic towards a fellow team member experiencing similar difficulties.

         Away from Autism Works and ISEB, today will see, literally, a 'once in a blue moon' event. Today, as I write this entry on the last day of August, there is a blue moon, though the moon is not literally blue! In astronomical/calendar speak, a blue moon month is month in which there are two full moons. A significant blue moon month for me was in May 2007. Full Moon in May is significant because it is symbolic of the birth, enlightenment and passing into Nirvana of the Buddha. May 2007 was the first time that I partook in a Vesak festival at Harnham Buddhist Monastery in Northumberland and I learned that if there are two full moons in may, Vesak is celebrated on the second full moon, or blue moon in May.   

         In September, I have Tyneside Cinema's live screening of the stage version of Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and then on September the 16th it is the big day - Bupa Great North Run Day! It is a huge step into the unknown for me as I have never done anything like this before, though I am relatively confident that I have made reasonable progress with my training to enable me to complete it on the day to raise funds for the Daisy Chain Project. Daisy Chain will have a stall in the charity village at the finish line in South Shields if anyone planning on coming along or are taking part in the event themselves would like to find out more. To donate, the link is 
         Happy Blue Moon Day to you all! 

         The other significant event the occurs on August Blue Moon Day (today) is the funeral service of the first human to set foot on the Moon Neil Armstrong, who sadly died earlier this week, a man who experienced the ultimate in stepping into the unknown with the iconic quote: 'That's one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind'. RIP Neil Armstrong (1930-2012).


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