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DASH for Personal Development - Test Driven Thinking Test Driven Thinking | DASH Methodology

Use the DASH approach to balance the difficult task of getting agreement on a course of action for solving problems when dealing with a group of people

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Test Driven Thinking

It can be difficult to make decisions when there are many options, but it can be much worse if you jump to conclusions based on gut instinct. Human judgement is subject to biases where you narrow down options too much and let emotions get in the way of the best solution. Thinking clearly is not an innate ability. It is a skill that anyone can learn. Ask yourself:

  • Are you confident about the decisions you make?
  • Can you back-up all your views with clear reasoning?

Using Test Driven Thinking will help you understand a subject better and make informed decisions.

Test Driven Thinking is an approach to develop your understanding of a complex subject or problem. It helps you to consider a wide range of views, and to take on board new ideas. It helps you better understand your own mind, becoming confident about putting across your point of view because you have considered all angles and approaches.

It is a well-known fact that people are imperfect at making decisions. People have biases that are blinding. This causes problems like focusing too narrowly on a problem or getting emotionally attached to ideas that are already invested in. With complex problems it is all too easy to draw the wrong conclusions by filtering out important information. Test Driven Thinking helps you to see more clearly, research possibilities, generate ideas and make more informed decisions.

To test thinking is to understand the implications of ideas and opinions on a subject so that you can make sense of it, create ideas and find the best way to deal with a subject or problem. The ability to think and solve problems varies between people. It can be learned and improved through practice. Ask yourself and others: Have you tested your thinking?


Test Driven Thinking is a cycle that helps improve thinking. By finding the strengths and weaknesses in your ideas you can find ways to adapt and improve your ideas. When your thinking is more rigorous then you can learn more rapidly and better respond to the challenges you face.

The steps of Test Driven Thinking are as follows:

  • Collate: gather inputs and establish the knowledge that exists relevant to the overall objective.
  • Produce: using information collated to produce new conclusions. This might be analytical thinking to understand links or creative thinking to generate ideas.
  • Validate: test conclusions to understand level of confidence and quality in meeting the objectives.


Principles of Test Driven Thinking:

  • Define tests to express the desired outcomes of thinking.
  • Consider outcomes from multiple points of view to provide a comprehensive set of tests.
  • Be guided by intuition while thinking objectively so that you are not misled by preconceptions.
  • Be prepared to keep many possible solutions in mind at once, and filter down options as evidence is uncovered.
  • Explore the problem iteratively, and adapt thinking if new information challenges earlier assumptions.
  • Zero-in on the solution as information becomes more complete.
  • Validate ideas based on the test conditions; build understanding on how each condition is satisfied and use to generate new avenues of thinking.

Working through cycles of Test Driven Thinking means you can progressively improve your understanding of a problem and find the best way forward. The thinking tests are a natural process of gathering and producing information as you work through each cycle.

The DASH Onion helps establish the tests based on the outcomes you are trying to achieve from different points of view. By having a full understanding of the problem area from different perspectives it becomes easier to think about a problem in new ways and from the point of views of different stakeholders.
You might be persuaded by what other people think – especially those you trust. This can help you to arrive at a view more quickly. In the collate step, you can take on the views of others, add your own ideas and test the sum of those views.


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