Bursting CDT Bubbles

“The  single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken  place.” – George  Bernard Shaw

Conference season has started again, and I’ve made some rounds giving talks at QAI QUEST in Chicago and STAR Canada in Toronto. I had a great time at both talking about problems with bias towards software testing (both positive and negative), and what we and the industry do to support them. But despite all the great conversations I had with colleagues and people I met for the first time, it became clear to me that the context driven community needs to do a better job getting the word out.

More often than not, my questioning of ideas that the CDT community take for granted as open for debate (test case counting, DRE, detailed test scripts, etc.) were causing gasps of horror and stares of disbelief! The big problem was that they are all accepted as settled law – almost beyond the realm of questions. This reaction seemed to confirm a point in my talk that the majority of testers on the planet are not working on sexy agile projects using cool techniques and tools. No, the majority of testers work on mediocre projects, with unenlightened teams, run by “operational test managers” who don’t use new technology and probably made them get “certified”.

The CDT community (and frankly, all the leaders of the testing world) owe it to those people to burst the bubble we tend towards and get religion! Form some connections! Get out there and join the fray! Now, I’ll give exemptions to the war horses of the the CDT movement, especially James Bach, Michael Bolton, pretty much the entire AST BOD  (and some select members) and the Let’s Test folks. There are some other notables I will undoubtedly miss off that list (anyone here), but for the rest of us? Really?

I’ve recently taken some shrapnel for participating in a public debate on Twitter about testing metrics/certifications and threats to their validity. The point was made (by multiple people) that maybe we should just stop fighting and agree to disagree. Nope. No way. I want to be “in the arena“, and I may get kicked around in the process, but for too long bad ideas about testing have gone unchallenged and its time to reinforce the front. I believe that the context driven community has the best ideas about how to manage and execute software testing and our community is truly an open forum for debate and exchanging of ideas.

Following people on Twitter is great place to start. Keeping up with the STC or attending CAST should be on your short list of ways to support the “skilled testing revolution”. Be we should be going further. There are loads of conferences where hard questions need to be asked and ideas challenged. As the AST likes to say, put the “confer” back into the conferences! Start a blog – or maybe comment on a colleagues. Any way you do it, start hammering away at these unchallenged ideas! No one is going to give it to us, we’re going to have to take it. I understand its difficult, but its so worth it, and as I’ve said multiple times this year already: changing culture is hard – but we’re gonna do it anyway!

Now what are you going to do about it?

“The longer I live, the more I am certain that the great difference between the great and the insignificant, is energy — invincible determination — a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory.”Sir Thomas Buxton