Context-Driven Testing at a Crossroads

Cem Kaner, who controls, has announced an interesting change in his view of the Context-Driven School. He says he prefers to think of it in terms of the Context-Driven approach, not a school of thought. This is a significant change from his original view, which was that CDT is a different paradigm.

That means I’m the last of the founders of the Context-Driven School, as such, who remain true to the original vision. I will bear its torch along with any fellow travelers who wish to pursue a similar program.

Polarization? No. Paradigm!

One of the things that concerns Cem is the polarization of the craft. He doesn’t like it, anymore. I suppose he wants more listening to people who have different views about whether there are best practices or not. To me, that’s unwise. It empties the concept of much of its power. And frankly, it makes a mockery of what we have stood for. To me, that would be like a Newtonian physicist in the 1690’s wistfully wishing to “share ideas” with the Aristotelians. There’s no point. The Aristotelians were on a completely different path.

For me, Context-Driven thinking is delightfully about listening to people and talking to people about practices and dynamics of software testing. But this must happen within the humanist framework that we laid out in the seven principles of the Context-Driven school. That’s our world.

Polarization is beside the point. Polarization is a natural consequence of the fact that our world view is simply different. We are a different paradigm. Our paradigm cannot be explained or contained by any other testing paradigm, such as the Factory School, or the Analytical School. We must have the stomach to keep moving along with our program regardless of the huddled masses who Don’t Get It.

Why Is This Division Happening Now?

Cem’s change of position is happening partly because, after 16 years, he and I are no longer collaborators. Due to a simmering personal dispute (nothing to do with testing) that blew up last year, we no longer can stand to be in the same room with each other. Alas, I don’t think this will change. What that means, professionally, is that the conversations that we once had– the passionate arguments– which led to mutual accommodations and syntheses, no longer happen. This is too bad, because the Factory schoolers, who greatly outnumber us, will make good rhetoric out of any appearance of confusion between Cem and I about our visions of testing.

Meanwhile, I will say this about Cem: He’s a great man. His contributions to testing have been enormous. I disagree with him on some aspects of testing, but by and large he does great work. I’m sure if he weren’t so furious with me and I were able to talk to him without feeling an overpowering urge to kick holes in walls (I mean that literally), we would still be able to develop testing ideas together. However, I trust that whatever he does will be worth looking at. And I do have many other bright collaborators, so I’m going to be fine.

The Context-Driven School continues, because I, and those like me, are compelled to pursue excellence wherever it leads us, even if that means breaking with “conventional” software testing thinkers. I wish Cem luck as he consorts with those guys, but I fear his time will be, for the most part, wasted.




19 thoughts on “Context-Driven Testing at a Crossroads

  1. I feel about as deflated about this as I did when my extended family fell apart. This is really sad! So much of the work that you and Cem did together is a huge part of why testing education has anything practical and thoughtful about it. How is it possible? How can this be? It’s just disappointing.

    [James’ Reply: I’m very sad about it. It hurts both of us, for sure.]

    I heard what Cem had written at CAST last year and I admired it. I had no idea how empty this year would be, with Jon totally tied up in Ebay. Yes, he’s part of the testing community, but not like he was. The many months you’re in Europe,…well, I’m even going to Europe for the first time ever to learn something new.

    What happens with AST? IS there any cohesion in test education? Who got custody of AST? Will you and Cem still be part of it? Did you leave?

    [James’ Reply: I have resigned from the board to give Cem room to do what he wants to do. And I’m staying away from CAST 2012 for the same reason.]

    Look, I know your students have NO RIGHT, at all, to expect anything or want anything you didn’t sign up for. I know I have NO RIGHT to want you and Cem to be sharing ideas again. And maybe your differences really are “Irreconcilable”, and I bet after so many years the two of you would know, but it still feels pretty awful.

    [James’ Reply: Really, the main impact of this is that our ideas will drift apart a BIT, and some arguments that I might have had with him in private will now be public, or else won’t happen at all. But you know, there are lots of other collaborations to cultivate. There’s a lot of great talent out there.]

    Context Driven to me is simply how I learned after being offered too much painfully pointless instruction from other people. It meant that I wasn’t alone in how I actually test, what I enjoy, and that context-driven testing is what is now natural for me to do, thanks to community support. It should not and does not mean that I belong to anyone, or as a result shun or spurn any ideas. I guess I just want to say that the collaborative work between you, Cem Kaner, and also Jerry Weinberg have been some of the best parts of testing for me, and I feel sorry, and disappointed to see any of that work come to an end. I really thought I’d see one of you retire before this happened, and I’m sad to learn of this. I hope for happier news for testing in 2012. When I hear to referred to as a “school”, I always thought that meant a school of thought, or also an approach. It doesn’t have a building, or a set curriculum, or a certification or degree program, not would I want it to. I see it as a topic of study, a style of testing, just like there are different styles of martial arts, that have different flaws and areas of strength. Maybe I’m in the minority. Still collaboration is voluntary, and if it would risk violence and wall integrity, I understand choosing otherwise. I just feel bummed that unresolved conflict without future collaboration was the final result. Maybe the best result was just to avoid more damage.

  2. How sad to see two of the great thinkers in the world of software testing have such a deep personal dispute that they can no longer stand each others’ company.

    It happens, but I can’t help but think that we are all diminished because of it.

    Oh well. Context-Driven School, Context-Driven Approach – whatever. I’ll still read all of it, learn from it, and apply the parts that fit in my daily work.

    Life is short. And strong-willed, passionate people who can bounce big, important ideas off of each other and still maintain a professional attitude are valuable and rare. Hopefully the two of you can come to some sort of resolution down the road where you can collaborate again. But, even if that doesn’t happen, I wish both of you the best – you both have certainly made my professional life richer.

  3. I have to say I’m actually confused by Cem’s announcement. He usually writes in a way that is very clear to me, but as far as I can tell he didn’t really point out what the difference is between a context-driven approach and a context-driven school other than semantics.

    I think semantics are important, so in this case calling it an approach seems to suggest that other approaches (like the factory “approach”) are also reasonable outside of context. To me, context-driven testing is just good software testing. We can borrow ideas from the other schools and apply them given a certain context. What is so polarizing about that?

    I’ll send Cem an e-mail to get some clarification on the post, but do you know of any CDT principles that are specifically being questioned by Cem or others?

    [James’ Reply: There a big difference between a context-driven approach and context-driven school. A school is a paradigm. It’s an all-inclusive world view, with its own ontology and values. So, I see all of testing in terms of the Context-Driven principles. It’s not just something I do. It’s something that forms my identity as a tester. I don’t turn it on and off. It’s always on.

    Context-driven as an approach means something that you decide to DO, even if it’s not your orienting world-view. A Factory school thinker can decide to behave in a context-driven way for a little while, but, for instance, the idea that people are the most important part of the context will not be a value that he holds to. The Factory mentality is about minimizing reliance on people, not exalting them.]

  4. I like what you said here: For me, Context-Driven thinking is delightfully about listening to people and talking to people about practices and dynamics of software testing.

    I’m sorry to hear that you and Cem had a personal dispute. I think drama is inevitable in any small, tightly knit group – at least in my experience – but I’m sorry it has impacted whether you can collaborate.

    @Lanette – I hear you on loving what you’ve seen in the Context Driven community. I guess I’m used to having a broken extended family so it doesn’t seem so painful to me, but I understand what losing something you value is like, especially relationships.
    I think XKCD hits it on the nose about creating new standards:

  5. @James, thanks for your insights and thoughts. While it saddens me to see a collaboration that has provided so much great information and forward looking thought and development no longer working in the same way, what you and the other founders of Context-driven Testing have done has been a huge boon to us testers who have embraced it and chosen to make it a part of our daily walk. As I said on my own blog, schools come and go, but principles are much more hardy, and I believe strongly in the principles that Context-driven testing has given us, and I likewise believe they will withstand scrutiny and time if we who champion them continue to speak up and be heard.

    @Lanette, AST is moving forward and, at least for the time being, the Context-driven School/Approach/Principles/whatever you want to call it are still central to our mission. I have taken on the job of keeping BBST moving forward and developing new opportunities around and possibly beyond it. I will not pretend to be Cem; I don’t have his credentials or his influence, and I have little in the way of formal academia behind me (I’m much more comfortable “speaking dude”) but tester education matters greatly to me, and in that capacity and with that drive, I hope to see AST and BBST grow and flourish. Time will tell if we can pull that off, but I’m going to give it my level best try :).

  6. Dear James,
    Probably for the first time I had a disappointment after reading your post, this is real sad for CDT community. This is the community that helped to learn the craft of testing, that was natural to me but suppressed by useless factory driven approach initially. I am sure the CDT will never die, but it hurts to see this at cross roads. I am sure all of the CDT thoughts leaders will continue to help the testing community but what would be missing is some great work that would have come out of collaboration.
    I too have the faith that Context driven school will continue

    Dhanasekar S

    [James’ Reply: It will continue because you and I will make sure it continues!]

  7. Testing needed/still needs the polarizing nature of your work, it’s what separates the passionate, the engaged from the willful idiots and it really helps to identify the intelectual leaders of both camps.

    However there are a lot of neutrals out there, I work with some, and I’m including managers and other diciplines in this group. They really don’t care enough about the craft of testing to choose sides but when I show them the benefits of the context schools work such as the heuristic test model, the difference between testing and checking etc. I find that they have never resisted the ideas, I’ve never had the usual factory school rationalisations thrown back at me.

    No level of polarizing force with attract or repel these neutrals though. Letting them fall into the wrong camp is a bad idea. It is these neutrals are the ones I am hoping Cem’s initiative is designed to appeal to.

    In a nutshell in my mind, you are electricity, Cem is gravity.

    [James’ Reply: Nice way of putting it. There is absolutely a need for an outreach program. Personally, I’m not suited for that. I want to work with context-driven enthusiasts on the best work we can do.]

  8. From one perspective it’s sad to see these kinds of things happening. Especially when it goes to personal level. For that I feel bad. But these things happen and everything still keeps moving. I’ve had arguments with my brother that could cause an earthquake and fights that have ended us not talking for months in a row. But as time passed by and emotions cooled off, then we started talking again. So I hope that in time you and Cem can at least stay in the same room without anything exploding or breaking… Even though it might look impossible right now…

    From another angle I might see it as part of evolution. It’s like two people on a journey – for some time they walk the same road but then their roads apart for whatever reason. But if they both keep moving, then one day they might walk the same road again (or at least meet on a crossroad). However by that time they have something more to talk about again. About something the other member doesn’t know so much about… About their experience, people they met, what they saw and what they did… Even if they don’t walk same road again and never meet, then other adventurers who meet them both might learn alot more than just meeting 2 people on the same road.

    But that still shows something remarkable – even though there is a break-off, it doesn’t mean neither the loss of face nor the loss of respect for the work done and what would be done in the future. It shows alot about this community’s character. Even though the path isn’t the same anymore, then there ain’t yells for bloody retribution (so far…). Someone ain’t crucified because he or she wants to know more about other aspects (even though these aspects might look foolish to someone else).

    Also in time, James, you might need to be able to pass on the responsibilities of torch-bearer. In 5-10-20 years from now someone else might have to take your place as “the Loudest Speaker”. Now is the chance to start bringing forward those people… To show how you argue with these people and how they think… To show the passion and work behind Context-Driven School… It’s gonna be hard probably, but how else? Keeping the status quo because it’s easier… I don’t think so… I already see the Storytellers talking to young testers “There was a great shift, I remember, I was there. After that things changed and some of us had to rise beyond what we thought we were capable of. Soon… Soon there will be your turn to carry the torch and to tell your own stories”.

    Again sad to hear what’s happening, but “When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. ~John F. Kennedy, 12 April 1959″. We shall see what happens and how it turns out.

    Context-Driven school thinker through and through.
    Oliver V.

    [James’ Reply: Hi Oliver. As you know, I strongly support and actively recruit new thinkers, young and old, to join our school. Anyone who wishes to lead may try to lead. Anyone good at leading will be followed. The community is self-correcting.

    Seems to me you are becoming one of those newer crop of leaders.]

  9. James,

    Years back I had consolidated opinions of testing community along with its founders on the subject of schools of testing. I had never anticipated the stage where it is, as mentioned in your post and Cem’s update on the CDT website.

    [James’ Reply: This sort of thing is actually common in philosophy. The history of philosophy is full of the proliferation and fragmentation of schools of thought.]

    I’m pretty sad about what has happened between you and Cem. Irrespective of my disagreement with the notion of schools, I as a tester feel a bit hurt about the way the personal relationship between two of the greatest guys in software testing world is on the decline. You and Cem together have delivered some of the best insights into testing profession which has helped me grow as a software tester. While you both explore your own paths, you would add great value for certain, but that’s not the point. The point is that at times, two leaders must see the importance of their working together beyond personal level, for the greater good of the community.

    Moreover, if I may point out, the CDT website should by now be a community website for the people who still believe in the context driven testing as a school. The website which has been a reference point for the testers who subscribe to this idea as a school, should not become a debate website for whether it is a school or an approach. For the purpose, another forum could be created.

    Many of my friends from the Indian testing community subscribe to Context driven testing as a school and I can only imagine the confusion this situation must have created for them and of course how sad they must be about it.

    With all due respect to the founders and their contributions, sometimes the followers of a school of thought might be able to contribute more than its founders and take it beyond the imagination of its original thinkers. I am sure that some of the great testers of the school of thought would come forward to support you.

    I don’t subscribe to context driven school but I would be more than happy to contribute in any way I can.

    [James’ Reply: I don’t know why anyone outside of our school should worry or care about any of this. In any case, the school continues. I’m a proud member of it.]

  10. I personally don’t have many years experience in software testing. And I came across Context-Driven testing when I attend CAST 2011. From that moment, my world of testing has changed. I enjoy testing. I now THINK and I study A LOT to improve myself based on Context-Driven testing teaching. It’s really sad to hear what happen between you and Cem. It may not be right to compare business and study, but people said Apple’s business strategies were polarization. Just like BMW mini or Toyota Scion. But I think Apple kept what they believe. And now nobody calls Apple’s business strategy is polarization. I’m with you man.

  11. True to say that it is a sad day for CDT movement that it is at a crossroad. I have been on crossroads many times in my career and I can that say it is not a bad thing. You get the opportunity to rethink and decide whether to follow or be followed. You, James, decided to be followed and follow your dream with great courage and I salute you. I think Cem is wrong to call CDT as an approach, it isn’t, it is what you characterise as school of thoughts which to me much richer than an approach. I belong to more than one school and find it limiting if they believe in a bunch of principles, methods and practices taken from a book. It is pool of thoughts formulated by the practicing community that makes it worthwhile to be part. I do believe Cem will do a good job of whatever he is chosen to do even if it is a different path but I hate to see mudslinging in public that would hurt the CDT movement. My sincere wishes are with you both.

    [James’ Reply: There’s no mudslinging. I’m not attacking Cem and I don’t see that he’s attacking me. We apparently now have a different idea about CDT being a school, yes. That’s okay. I just want people to know that I continue to find the Schools idea to be apt. It was never just a rhetorical tactic for me.]

  12. James, you and I have celebrated our differing opinions on many, many topics and I enjoy engaging with you. We have both managed to change each others’ viewpoints at times. We are both passionate in positive ways about context-driven testing even though we express ourselves very differently. You have acted more of a rallying point, while I’ve focused more on outreach. I think both are invaluable to the profession.

    You and I debated the “Schools” concept at CAST in 2011, and you know I’m in the camp of people who think that, on net, the divisiveness is unhelpful. You and I passionately disagree on this point, and I think we understand one another well enough that we are both capable of defending the others’ viewpoint. Is it so terrible that someone else prominent in the context-driven community expresses ideas similar to mine? I understand your pain over your and Cem’s falling out and I’m very sad for it, but I know you better than to think you’d object to someone holding a reasonably defensible opinion different from yours.

    I also think we’re more at a “Y” in the road than a cross-roads. The context-driven community continues to exist and it’s growing. I think that context-driven thinking is a great thing for us as individuals and as a profession. But, we are individuals and our thinking evolves. Discussion and debate may bring us together or help us understand our differences, but we always have somewhat different experiences and beliefs. I have not seen or heard anything from Cem that goes against any of the seven basic principles. He remains context-driven. I think it’s unfortunate that the early contributors have drifted apart, but I don’t think that means they aren’t still context-driven or that the movement is no longer happening. Some voices have gone silent and many voices added. Today’s thought leaders will be replaced some day, but that doesn’t mean the community will die. The context-driven community especially should continue to question itself and evolve.

    As the current AST President, I know I’m biased, but the AST likewise is still healthy and growing, with membership up by almost 20% since CAST 2011 last summer. It has undergone substantial evolution and I hope it will continue to evolve. AST leadership is thinking of new ways to improve the profession and promote context-driven thinking. I miss many of the leaders who have stepped back and I appreciate many of the new ones who have stepped in. We still draw upon their wisdom, experience, and memories as needed, but we have the benefit of new energy and fresh ideas from the new leaders, too.

    CAST this year is also looking great. We’re missing your and Jon’s contributions this year, but the leadership (and the conference) has changed every year and CAST has only improved with age. [Unabashed plug: CAST is July 16 – 18 in San Jose, CA this year.]

    [James’ Reply: Thanks, Doug! I agree with what you say. I support the AST.]

  13. JB, as with others it’s a sad thing to hear. Thank you for not staying silent on the subject (it is you after all!). ;0)

    I have seen one positive out of this… Look at community talking, debating, giving their opinions… It’s solid gold. I’ve learnt a ton over the past week just reading it all. It seems to have motivated people to speak out.

    So yes, indeed it is sad that you won’t be collaborating with Cem anymore… but always look on the bright side right?

    I’ve been on a great learning journey for about 18 months now after reading ‘Lessons Learned…….’ and there is no plan to slow down because of this.

    I’m happy to say that I’ll continue to follow both of you!

  14. James,

    I would like to react to this development in two broad terms

    1. Interpretation: What does this difference of opinion means from practice stand point? what does it mean semantically? I am not sure, if the identification of paradigms as such is a cause of polarization. If Newton and Einstein (founders of respective paradigms) were to be in same period of time – would you say their paradigms can cause polarization of physics community into two groups holding contradicting views ? Do you think paradigms caused polarization? When do you thinking polarization is bad?

    [James’ Reply: I am not aware of any important difference between Cem and I on the practices of testing. I’m sure there are differences, but I have no reason to believe they are more than a matter of style. We have bigger differences when it comes to what is good teaching. He’s an academic, though, and I am suspicious of the academic sensibility.

    Paradigmatic differences are by definition polarizing. Look it up.

    A much better comparison in physics is between Cartesians and Newtonians, who fought for years until the Newtonians won the battle.

    Polarization can be a problem when people need to live together and work together.]

    From Cem’s post – I see a more liberal and open view (not that your’s is opposite). His mention of dialectic approach to testing seems to be leading testing in a interesting direction. As context driven testers (approach or paradigmatic) – we as followers are constantly reminded of “confirmation bias” – getting surrounded by folks that think alike.

    [James’ Reply: People within the Context-Driven community think very differently. There are only a few principles that define our school!]

    You personally have challenged testing community to not to accept anything without challenging. From that viewpoint – challenging what CDT stood for and listening to others who are outside CDT community is very core of CDT. Cem’s call for listening to others, to me looks like, a flavor of that thinking.

    [James’ Reply: It’s not the very core of CDT. It’s not CDT at all. CDT is not about challenging the principles of CDT. I mean, you can do it if you want to, but I think that’s probably a waste of your time. In any case, go ahead and do as you like. I would rather explore the implications of the principles.]

    What is the key point of difference? Approach vs Paradigm? What happens when a paradigm becomes an approach? How does a paradigm deals with something that is’nt a paradigm while paradigms among themselves might be incommensurable (lack of common terms of reference – common ground, vocabulary) ? What happens when a paradigm meets an approach – do they interact at all?

    [James’ Reply: Once you read up on what paradigms are, you can answer these questions for yourself.]

    By calling paradigm as approach – I think Cem is trying to broaden the reach of CDT message and melt the hard boundaries created between groups through paradigms. Where will this lead to? Only time will tell.

    [James’ Reply: Actually, by doing this, I don’t know what he’s doing. It’s not consistent with the many previous conversations I have had with him, I can tell you that.

    As I said, if his idea is to enjoy of the company of people who are Factory schoolers or Analytical schoolers, I personally think he will be wasting his valuable time. Of course, it’s not for me to say what he finds useful.

    There is a value to community outreach. Personally, I have better things to do.]

    2. Impact – I learned from likes of “Leviathan and the air pump” and history and philosophy of science, that controversies are good. I often used controversies to learn a subject deeper. This controversy about how to interpret CDT – will have at least one positive point – that we will get to learn more deeply about core of it – that “testing”. To me that is a good thing. As Oliver said – controversies, crises have positive sides – opportunity to learn something new and build things differently.

    Polarization caused through identification and subscription of paradigms is here to stay. At times it might mean stagnation in learning from other groups of holding contrasting viewpoint (not sure how a paradigm deals with something that is not one) and at times polarization is inevitable you cannot remove the cause. We might move forward in being open and see the thing evolving. I

    No matter what – software testing will have interesting times ahead


  15. James – If you and Cem can’t stand to be in the room together that’s probably an interesting story heard over a beer, but regardless of the relationships of the original founders, the CD school still exists and is absolutely a paradigm. Speaking only for myself, I have yet to find any tangible benefits to the “factory/certification approach” to testing and in fact, my personal experience with them is that they are harmful to organizations generically and to testers specifically. You don’t need it, James, but you have my full support and as Colin Powell said, “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.” Cheers – KK

  16. I’m fairly new to the context-driven community, so I’m still working through some of the implications of the principles in my mind. I definitely think Context-Driven Testing is more than an approach, though. I imagine there could be as many context-driven approaches as there are contexts. I think what we call Context-Driven Testing is a way of thinking that enables us to develop those approaches. This seems more in line with the school/paradigm/worldview concept. Whatever we call it, I think Context-Driven Testing is a model on which we base our decisions. I have a scientific research background, so I’m pretty familiar with models. As George E. P. Box stated, “essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.” (Note: You could say that this statement is a model of models and that it is therefore wrong. I still think it’s useful, though.)

    The usefulness of a model is in its simplicity – in a model we make assumptions (based on empirical evidence) in order to make a complex system or concept more manageable. Without assumptions, it would be impossible to think productively about anything. For example, in biochemistry, how could I understand the reactions catalyzed by enzymes without first assuming that enzymes exist? Enzymes are molecules, so I need to be able to make assumptions about the existence and properties of atoms and molecules, as well.

    The “wrongness” of models comes from the fact that in simplifying, some detail is lost – the model is not a perfect representation of reality. As a result, ideas that seem to follow from the model (interpolations) may not be correct. There’s a danger of becoming so attached to a particular model that we refuse to consider anything that doesn’t fit into it and instead start trying to force the evidence to fit the model. There’s also a danger of following a model based on the people who espouse it rather than on the merit of the model itself. (There may be some people who subscribe to Context-Based Testing because of its leaders, but I think most follow it because it makes sense.)

    I think Context-Driven Testing is a very good model. The principles (assumptions) on which it is built seem pretty obvious (at least to me); I can’t understand how anyone could disagree with them. However, there are other models out there. Some of those models may be more about selling “products” (e.g. certifications, testing tools, etc.) than about delivering value, but it’s hard for me to believe that only ignorant people subscribe to models other than our own. “All models are wrong,” but I think any model that is developed (or accepted) by an intelligent, thoughtful person of integrity must have some truth to it. This is where I think a dialectical approach can be useful. When we engage in dialogue with someone whose models is different from our own, we may not change his or her beliefs, but there is an opportunity for each party to gain new insights from the other’s perspective.

    There may be value in questioning and exchanging in dialogue about one’s model, but there’s a trade-off: time and effort spent questioning the model is time and effort not spent applying it. On the other hand, time spent applying a flawed model may be wasted time. On the other other hand, even an imperfect model may be good enough for all practical purposes (and attempts to improve it may be purely academic). I think Context-Driven Testing is a “good-enough-for-now” model, not necessarily The One True Way. It’s worth keeping an open mind, but I think following its principles in their current form will serve us well (and I don’t think anyone has suggested otherwise).

    **Note: This is rather long and perhaps overly technical. Feel free to post an abridged version as long as it maintains the original intent.

  17. I posted a blog post about this topic. I know you are very busy, but I would love any feedback, even if private. In essence, I find that testing today is about brokering information – including the gathering and synthesizing into useful information so that some stakeholder can use it to make a decision. Along with that must always be context – context of data gathering, context of audience, etc… It is inescapable. I know the schools debate has been a hot topic lately. However, I find the CDT principles are embedded regardless of school. Those principles are a means through which we can inspect the effectiveness of our product (information). Through that vision, I find that schools are aligned to provide specific types of information. Whether information provided by those schools is useful or even appropriate is definitely debatable. In short, CDT principles are transcendent of the individual schools. Following one of the non-CDT schools means a tester is providing a category of information for specific decision situations. If a stakeholder is encountering that situation, then that information is useful. However, more often than not, stakeholder’s decisions aren’t aligned to those schools; hence, the information is actually useless. We must service the needs of our customers.

    [James’ Reply: I support the strong idea of schools, which is that they are paradigms. As such, I think CDT is profoundly incompatible with the other schools. Testing is generally about revealing information, but for the other schools I don’t think revealing information is their main concern. The various schools are deeply divided on the very definition and role of testing, and on the basic nature of people and on the relationship between people and technology.]

  18. According to me context driven testing can be considered as a good model for testing as it is based on continuous evaluation of testing opportunities on the basis of the information revealed.BUt there aer also other models which may prove better.

    [James’ Reply: Context-Driven Testing does not have such a basis. What you are speaking of is exploratory testing. But no matter what you are talking about, if your intention is to say something respectable and to earn credibility as a thinker, then you need to tell us how any other model could prove better. What would be the basis for any such “proof?”]

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