It sounds obvious enough, but time after time I see testers in particular taking action before they've clearly identified what their end goal is or worse, what problem they're trying to solve. I'm guilty of it myself, I'm afraid to admit! Maybe it's a personality trait of people who naturally gravitate towards testing, or maybe it's just a pet peeve that I've started growing more aware of recently.
As testers, we're often incredibly busy with the wide variety of work we do (spec feedback, test plan writing, bug-finding, automation writing & run analysis, etc.). In fact, we're often so busy that when new work comes up, it's incredibly tempting to fall back on patterns that have brought us success in the past without thinking through whether or not the actual problem or situation surrounding the problem has changed.
However, the fact that we're so busy is exactly why we should take a moment to make sure we're not doing unnecessary work or worse, causing unnecessary work for others!
Even if the problem sounds similar to something you've solved in the past, taking just a couple of minutes to answer the following questions can literally save hours for you or your co-workers: