An open letter to James Whittaker:
You wrote: “I had an amicable hallway conversation with James Bach. His blogger angst at my use of the title ‘Exploratory Testing’ didn’t spill over to a face-to-face discussion. Frankly, I am not surprised. I’ve never claimed the term as my own, I simply took it and made it work in the hands of real testers on real software under real ship pressure. Consultants can coin all the terms they want, but when us practitioners add meat to their pie, why cry foul? Is it not a better reaction to feel happy that there are people actually doing something with the idea?”
None of that is true.
I would not describe our conversation as amicable. Perhaps you thought it was amicable because we didn’t talk about anything important, and during that moment, I didn’t raise my voice. Or punch you.
My criticism of you is not “blogger angst”, it’s my opinion based on studying for 20 years something you’ve hardly studied at all. Every substantive conversation we’ve had has consisted of you denying whatever I happen to say, without offering evidence and in most cases without offering an argument. You have a zeal for dismissing my work that is truly extraordinary– you once even denied, again without evidence, that I knew how to run a file compare tool. Wow.
Now you say you made ET work? Well, first, you don’t know what ET is. Second, you’re an academic. You stayed in school and studied formal methods (that no one uses) while I was cutting my teeth in Silicon Valley. I have taught and demonstrated ET all over the world. I’m not alone, but work with a community of like-minded testers and thinkers, comparing notes with them, and deepening our understanding of exploratory learning applied to testing. You have not been a part of that.
I don’t think you’re adding meat, I think you’re serving thin gruel.
ET does work. My community repeatedly shows that it does. We will patiently continue to teach and develop it.
Subtlety hasn’t worked with you. So I’m saying this publicly: You’re a good speaker, but as a practitioner, if your prose is any indication, you don’t know much about what you are doing. If you applied yourself, you could become a good tester. But I’ve seen no evidence of that, yet.