Donkeys Bridge


Something intended to assist the memory, as a verse, acronym or formula.
“Ezelsbruggetje” is a Dutch word that roughly translates to Donkeys Bridge.
Its meaning however is similar to Mnemonic

Up until the Rapid Software Testing class in early June I was not really actively using mnemonics for testing. Come to think of it I am not even sure if , being a non-native English speaker,  I actually connected mnemonics to its equivalent Dutch word “ezelsbruggetje”. During Rapid Software Testing I got intrigued with the concept of using it for testing and after some intensified practical use I am growing more and more fond of the use of mnemonics. So much so that a week ago I came up with one myself.

It started when I was driving home after an Intervision session that I had organized at work and was kind of contemplating on how my testing skills are evolving in and outside of work. Eventually I concluded that the best things, for me, only come together if I work within a team-spirited group of people. I do not use the word team here on purpose, because I do not mean to talk about formally organized teams but any group of people coming together with a mutual and positive sense of  purpose and interests.

My Mnemonic

The next day I introduced my mnemonic to a colleague and besides the grin it produced he explained that he thought the idea was pretty good and the acronym would make sure it stuck. So now a another couple of days have passed and since I couldn’t find any similar mnemonic for teams I thought of sharing it with you.

Pirosmani-Donkey Bridge-The State Museum of Fine Arts of Georgia, Tbilisi
Pirosmani-Donkey Bridge-The State Museum of Fine Arts of Georgia, Tbilisi

Skill – The ability to function within a group

For some people acting within a group comes natural but the rest of us can sharpen their skills by following courses, reading books or training. Following a training on effective communication or group dynamics can be very helpful here.

Experience – The amount of time actively spent as a member of a variety of groups

Skill can get you a long way, but in my opinion there is no substitute to actual use of your ideas and abilities in practice. Participation in different groups with different contexts is a good way to gain experience.

Knowledge – All facts, truths, descriptions or information that adds value to a specific group at a specific time

Different contexts requires different knowledge as the value of that  knowledge depends on its usefulness in that specific context. Understanding, or if it is not so obvious asking about the context in which you are in helps you to choose which knowledge you have adds value to the performance of your group. Off course having an extensive knowledge base is what can give you an advantage. Recently several good blog posts were published on education that can help you:

Service orientation – Willingness to use and share skill, experience and knowledge with others

Say you gained insight in effective communication, have been a member of dozens of teams and have learned your trade to the best of your ability. This all only benefits you and your team members if you are willing (and able) to use and share this with your team.

To do so there are two major hurdles to be taken. The first one is that you must want to share. I can think of a number of contexts where if you are any good in  the first three attributes this can give you a sort of informal power. If this is the case you will have to either overcome the fear of losing power or be able to see that this power is hollow and easily surpassed with the esteem you can get by sharing.

The second hurdle is of  a more personal nature. From personal experience I know that to use and share, or to help others do this, often sounds easier in theory than it is in practice. To do so you need to get out of your, figurative, cubicle, expose yourself and lose the fear of making mistakes in front of a group. So this takes guts and is more difficult for some than it is for others.

As a note it is probably wise to assure that, before you jump the hurdles,  your team is what I call a team spirited group and not only a group of people assigned to each other  by function, project or location with no other reference to each other

So if your context is open for it, the next time you apply or hire for a job think of my team mnemonic.

Service Orientation