Monday, 28 February 2011

Am I a Context-Driven Tester?

" #softwaretesting #testing "

I'm writing this as a brain-dump that happened during a lunchtime walk...

James Bach made a very interesting post this weekend, here, and there has been a deal of discussion about it - both on blog and off.

Bundled into the comments religion started popping up - religion is a powerful metaphor - it distils some of the intensity around the distinctions. That kick-started my right-hemispere into overdrive...

Declaration of intent?
I've never come out and said I'm a context-driven tester - I've never felt the need - I don't (or try not to) preach (I had enough of that at school), and I'm not a missionary for the church of xxxx testing.

So, what do I do?
Well, I try to do my testing job in the best way I can, with the learnings and leaning that I have. If you've looked at some of my reading list, here, you'll understand that only a part of my learning is geared towards "traditional software development". Yes, the human aspect is very important - understanding how behaviour, bias, thinking traps, thought processes and group dynamics affect the product under development - starting day 1.

I conciously apply elements of systems thinking to the problems I work with (it's very evident when I work with someone from the analytic or factory school) - but I must treat the problem on its merits, how else can I give it my best input.

Does this make me a CDT?
Maybe, but not on its own.

But even when I work with people with strong analytic/factory tendencies my aim is to leave them with the impression of the value my input is bringing.

Does this make me a missionary/franchiser? 
Maybe. But in a "nice machiavellian" way.

But, at the end of the day, I'm in it for me - I'm responsible for my learning - and it's that approach that I hope comes across to people I work with. Yes, I look at problems differently from some. Sometimes they want to look at the problems "my way". Then I just think, "result"!

Either way, context is very important to the problems I deal with. My toolbox is forever growing - as their is no best toolbox - and a big part of my work is geared towards tester-to-non-tester communication. So,

  • CDT? Maybe. 
  • CDT atheist? Maybe.
  • Good tester? Hopefully.
  • CDT community wannabe? Yes.
  • Big toolbox? Definitely!

Have you thought about testing from the school, religion, cult or community perspective?

1 comment:

  1. Great post Simon.

    I have concerns about all this labelling that is starting to happen in our craft.

    I get very worried once words such as religion and cult are used to describe a way of thinking. Throughout history the use of these words to describe radical thinkers has caused much suffering and a lot worse.

    I think within out great community we can learn from all the different approaches 'schools' since depending on what I am doing or being paid to do at the time will depend on which approach I will use.

    I personally do not wish to be labelled in any particular 'school', maybe it is a childhood thing I do not like the use of labels.

    I am a tester (hopefully a good tester), that is it.