Schedule and Events

March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let's call the calling-off off

There's been a fair bit of discussion lately on the test-o-sphere about the status and the future of context-driven testing. I believe Scott Barber has provided the best overview, and I don't have a whole lot to add to the debate, except maybe for this:

Did you know that there is an entire non-profit organization dedicated to context-driven testing? It is the Association for Software Testing, or AST. Here, check out the mission statement:
The Association for Software Testing is dedicated to advancing the understanding of the science and practice of software testing according to Context-Driven principles.
AST is not going away.

The AST also has a professional international conference, the Conference for the Association for Software Testing, or CAST.

CAST is not going away.

AST provides a grant and user group support program, designed to keep context-driven ideas flowing. Over the past four months, we have lent support to a user's group in Hong Kong, a peer workshop in Estonia, another in Calgary, as well as the Grand Rapids Testers User Group.

The Grant Program is not going away; we continue to support events like the Test Coach Camp.

The Folks in the Miagi-Do School of software testing are still going; Weekend Testers is still going strong. If Rosie Sherry shuts down SoftwareTestingClub over this I will eat my hat.

I assure you, I am in no danger of eating said hat; that's just a small listing of the branches, offshoots, and associated groups within the world of context driven.

How do I know? For one thing, it is my pleasure and honor to sit on the board of directors for the Association for Software Testing; I also sit on the leadership team for the Miagi-Do School.

Let me be clear

I am context-driven. I am not going anywhere, and I am not the only person in that position.

See you around.

I'll be here.


Michael Larsen said...

Nicely stated. As one who shares in all of the things that you mentioned, and will be shepherding the Education initiatives for AST, I can safely say I have no intention of abandoning them either :).

cem kaner said...

The only one pushing the idea of the death of context-driven testing is Scott Barber, whose summaries you otherwise seem to like.

The questions that I'm raising have to do with conceptual drift (core ideas, values, and nature of interactions with people who hold different views) as the approach has evolved over the past 11 years. I think it's long past time that we had a debate within the community about these.

Do you really want to call that off?

Rosie Sherry said...

I apply context thoughts. I apply lean thoughts. I apply startup thoughts. I apply agile thoughts. Etc. My context means I need to mix and match. If I had the time I would apply Miagi-Do ones too :)

I believe and support the approach of many these methods, approahces and schools that exist, but not sure if I belong to a single one. Apart from, of course, the school of Rosie Sherry :)

Matthew said...

Hello Cem!

I was responding to the massive outflow of concern on the intarwebs about the future of context-driven testing, regardless of how well-intentioned or even well-worded any individuals posts are.

I'm fine with a debate within the community about things like conceptual drift, but to do that, we have to have a community.

Which we /do/. Which was the point of my post. :-)

Wade Wachs said...

Didn't we learn not to call an end to things that aren't emding in the Whitaker fiasco last year? I am all for discussion, but come on.

If anyone wants a context-driven conversation i am happy to do so, just let me finish the BBST course on context-driven testing so i can have time to focus on the conversation.

Unknown said...

I'm seriously starting to wonder how many people read beyond titles -- although, I guess I shouldn't wonder. There was certainly a lot of reaction to the whole "Test is Dead" thing who either never took the time to watch either of the presentations or decided to completely ignore the points 'cause they didn't like the trappings. (Not everyone, but plenty)

For the record -- AGAIN -- I never said, nor implied (in any way I've been able to figure out in over 3 re-reads of each of my related posts) that anything was changing about context-driven testing. I spoke of *the* "school". There once was *A* school with more than one of the founders in line. James says he is continuing the school & thus the school lives on with one founder.

Does that make anyone more or less context-driven? *NO*

Does that change the principles or value proposition of context-driven testing? *NO*

I guess technically a school of thought can continue without any kind of central figure -- and lots of individuals can benefit from it.

What I'm talking about is an actual, unified identity, for testING and testERS. AST, STC, etc. are all great, but add up all the "members" and divide by the total number of people who make a living being paid to test software, and I'm pretty certain you don't get anything a reasonable person would call a "representative voice" for the global community of testers -- and that's presuming that all of those folks actually agreed on something enough to present a unified voice... and I think we all know what the odds of that are.

So, maybe I'm the only crack-smoking monkey who cares that I've chosen to pursue a career in a craft where I theoretically have millions of peers world-wide, but millions are far more interested in treating one another like enemies over preferred business card titles than embracing one anothers passion and experiences to make a better tomorrow for both TesterLand and the business that depend on the citizens of TesterLand...

But I do care. I care because I'm just not a "status quo" kinda guy. I'm not a guy that let's change happen to me, and passively reacts to it. I'm a guy who sees change coming, tries to get out in front of it and do whatever I can to help make the change as painless and positive as possible.

And I see change coming. And my track record of feeling the winds of change is uncanny-good.

So I guess, I'm gonna head "this way" now & see if I can't get in front of it, and maybe... just maybe have some positive impact from there.

If anyone would like to join me, I'd welcome them. Otherwise, I'll go it alone. Wouldn't be the first time & I'm sure it won't be the last.

Trevor Wolter said...

Perhaps I'm being overly simplistic or maybe I'm just plain naïve, but this whole thing seems like a controversy over nothing.

A school of thought occurs two people share the same thoughts and ideas on a given topic. It has nothing to do with a website or a meticulously documented set of standards or the people that originated it. Whether or not one person says it does or does not exist or they want to give it some other name is irrelevant. So long as someone contintues to identify with the school, it continues to exist even if others change how they identify.

Schools do not cause polarization. It's like saying differing thought causes polarization. What causes polarization is the way people REACT to disagreement. For example, the political parties in the United States are more polarized than ever before. It's so bad that Congress can't get anything done. It MUST be because there are two parties that fundamentally disagree on everything. No, it's because they refuse to interact with each other in a civil manor to the extent that they won't even bring legislation up for a vote. By all means, disagree about your testing philosophy then go get a beer together.

The context-driven teststing school continues on. Not in spite of Cem Kaner or because of James Bach but because of hundreds, maybe thousands of people like me share a common philosophy about software testing.