What's a motto?
Do you have a general approach to your work? Maybe it's an attitude or general starting position. Maybe it's something that sums up your team approach, your problem approach, the approach to test issues - it could be a separate approach for each or a single approach that works on many different levels.
When I first started as a trainee function tester (that was the job title) one of my first team leaders said to me, "Anyone will help you, but you will have to do the work."
I liked that, adopted it and personalised it. I reframed it for my use as, "I'll help with anything, but it's you who needs to do the work."
This fits into the teamwork approach grouping of mottos, or phrases that sum up my approach.
On the face of it this could sound negative. I never interpretted it that way when first hearing it and have never meant it that way when using it. To me it is an enabler for teamwork. If used within a team it means that everyone supports everybody else within the team and also that everybody contributes to the team. So, from that perspective it's very inclusive.
I don't remember the last time I used the phrase (maybe 2-3 years ago), but everybody that works with me (including managers) knows about it, buys into it and I occasionally hear it used in front of me - so it's an idea that is easy to adopt and spread.
People like and see the value in it, whether it's called a motto, a phrase or an attitude.
Can I find a phrase that sums up my attitude/approach to problem solving and test approaches? Mmm, let's see:
Problem solving: I'm a divergent thinker and emergent learner, so I think my attitude has got to be broad coverage, initially shallow and follow-up on key areas.
Test approach: This is a combined top-down and bottom-up approach, trying to understand the big picture as well as digging into the details (a typical answer from a divergent thinker and emergent learner!)
Note, it doesn't mean that these approaches always work for me - but they are starting points.
You could ask the question, "why bother trying to sum up my testing approach?" Maybe you have a list of things that you could categorize that you use, something taking a page or chapter to discuss.
Well think of the example of twitter. Sometimes when trying to get a message across (in 140 characters) you need to re-think what you want to say, cut out the noise and try to distill the message.
It doesn't always work - sometimes you remove part of the message/meaning as well as the noise. But, try it as an exercise - what do you do, why and can you describe it? It's a very powerful exercise.
Do you have any mottos?
Can your testing approach or attitude be summed up in a few words? In your own words, or somebody elses...