So at this training the other, three sequences of number where put up on screen and we were asked to work out the sequence. As I did in my previous blog post.
And the sequence was quite simple. Just three whole numbers with each number being greater than the last. However the misleading bit was that all three given sequences followed the pattern (x) &mdash (2x) &mdash (2x+1). The whole point of this was to show how we don't challenge our preconceptions. How we pick test cases to prove what we expect. So instead of picking test cases that challenge the sequence, we pick test cases that confirm it.
In the training it took us about 10 minutes to twig on. I expected to be found out by you guys much faster than that. I was quite surprised that I wasn't. Not only did you guys not really test anything that would reveal anything more about the sequence, but you jumped straight to the formulae and started trying to figure out why I kept saying the formulae was wrong, and really took the long way of doing things. It would have been much quicker just test a variety of sequences and narrow it down from that. As Stuart showed when he started throwing some numbers in it really wasn't that hard at all.
I was deliberately vague about the rules for this. The rules where quite simply, and giving too much detail would have made the answer obvious which was also quite simple. It was also curious to note how everyone started looking at me as if I was the problem, instead of tackling the number sequence. by far the easiest way to find the definition of the sequence was to just throw numbers at me and refine from that. But until you can overcome the idea in your head that says the formula is (x) &mdash (2x) &mdash (2x+1), you get a bit stuck.
I guess it's a good lesson for life, about getting over notions you have set in your mind, and solving problems by looking at the problem itself, and not what we perceive the hurdles to be. I found this to be quite enlightening both from being on the guessing side (and I did miserably, it was other people who started challenging the pattern not me) and to be on the side answering the guesses.