Naga Chokkanathan

When we read a news paper article, or an email, or a document, we don’t really read it in full. Mostly we skim through the content looking for recognizable patterns, and our mind fills up the rest.

To test this, just ask yourself a question, how often you find spelling mistakes in documents? Why? (Or, Why not?)

While reading anything, we may ‘see’ spelling errors, but it doesn’t register in our brain, we simply assume the right spelling in that place and go on, Similarly, when you read the characters ‘beau’ coming next to each other, you immediately assume the entire word ‘beautiful’ and move to the next word. This ability to ‘fill’ and ‘understand’ is a special power of our brain.

Especially, when you become expert in certain things, you assume more. This is because we already know more about anyone else on that subject and we want to save time, so we jump words, statements, sometimes paragraphs and fill the rest with assumptions.

Do you see the problem here? Making too many assumptions can backfire, we may think we have understood the problem statement clearly and provide a solution, But in reality some wrong assumptions might force our solution totally unusable.

This is very critical, especially when reviewing documents such as user requirements, designs, project plans, test cases etc., Any assumptions and jumping to conclusions on these will result in a disaster at a later point. Of course, no one would know its because of your wrong assumption all these happened, But our conscience will know the truth.

Just like human beings, respect anything you read and they will give back more than ever!

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