Context-Driven Controversy? Meh…

“I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.” –  Groucho Marx

As a relative newcomer to the context-driven community, I read with great anticipation the latest post on the Context-Driven Testing website. Unfortunately, a pattern seems to be developing on that site where good ideas or topics for debate end up drowning in some bizarre public spectacle made up of innuendo, accusations and irony. Sapient testing? Fuzzing? Checking vs Testing? HVAT? How about: WTF? My view……who cares. All this leaves me feeling bored and frankly, a little sad.

I’m drawn to the CDT community because I’m a skeptic. I’m not sure about anything, let alone the best approach to software testing, so the CDT philosophy of rejecting “best practices” hits all the right notes with me. Even after knowing about the Association for Software Testing for years, I’ve only recently been active, as I was not convinced you could effect change in software testing through “community” action.

I’m also interested in the CDT world because it forces testers by principle to do something that in my opinion, other approaches to software testing do not: use their brain.

This one-sided debate about who owns CDT, whether people are censured, the existence of an anti-automation cabal – all of that smacks of a storm in a tea-cup. Is the CDT community under assault from a bunch of Luddite “consultants” looking for ways to leverage marketing materials? Huh? And are these same “consultants” censuring people while twisting their mustaches and hatching diabolical “manual testing only” plans? Seriously? When you get past all the smoke and rhetoric, I can tell you my experience has been exactly the opposite.

Want to know what Michael Bolton says about “checking vs testing”? Read this. Want to know if James Bach is “anti-automation? Ask him here. They’re not firing off missives filled with thinly veiled attacks. Their work is out there for criticism – and trust me, they welcome questions. We all know how I feel about scrutiny, and after two years of extensive training, and consulting work filled with long debate and personal discussions, I can assure you – neither James nor Michael are “anti-automation”, CDT religious nuts, or stifling feedback. What a bunch of nonsense.

But don’t take my or anyone else’s word for it – find out for yourself.

There are so many great things happening in the CDT community now – and they are happening on a global scale. Seeds that were sown years ago are starting to grow, and CDT is being adopted by larger organizations on a bigger scale and continues to gain acceptance into mainstream software testing philosophy. So let’s get on with the work at hand: questioning ourselves, rigorous debate, and building a vibrant testing community that improves the lives of software testers and meets the demands of our business.

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

4 thoughts on “Context-Driven Controversy? Meh…

  1. The misuse of tools, absorbing time and energy and creating a false sense of testing quality, is a big problem in our industry. Cem Kaner and I have long argued against ineffective approaches to test automation. We gave joint presentations about this at a couple of conferences. The first LAWST conference was on this topic, and the attendees of that event came to consensus on many issues regarding this.

    I don’t know anyone credible who argues against the use of tools. Certainly, anyone who construes my ideas as being anti-automation, in any general sense, is deeply confused.

    However, if your FIRST move as a tester is to reach for a tool other than your own mind, I would say you aren’t testing as well as you could be. This is not controversial, of course, since as we say in CDT: people are the most important part of the context.

    — James

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