Horizontal communities, testing, and engagement.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that community and theory engage each other, and what might attract people to the Context Driven school of testing over some of the more traditional classroom certification routes. This is all pretty subjective, so take it as such:

The ContextDriven school is interesting. It’s stimulating. It’s fun. It makes people think. The result? It attracts people that want to think, who want to do their job as efficiently as possible, and who want to play and make interesting things happen.

The hidden strength of the context driven field is the people it appeals to, and the way the community is organized to attract them.  I can’t prove this, and I’m not flattering myself, but the school seems to have an edge over certification and classroom work in this regard. Software testing is a young enough discipline that there’s room to shape the direction it goes, and to a lot of us that’s a really exciting  opportunity.  Now I’ve done the ISTQB certification, and I’d argue that there’s some value to that as technical training, teaching you to follow steps for a particular outcome, and it helps to build a shared vocabulary. Maybe I’d be more critical if I’d paid out of pocket, I found it interesting, but not ground breaking. There’s not a lot of room there to engage or shape the theory, it’s a class room, with traditional power structures. Context Driven testers seem to gravitate to more open, workshop style sessions, where ideas flow in all directions. There’s a lot more room to engage laterally, and I think that’s something that will attract bright, active people that want to really engage with their discipline. The communities are as organic and flexible as the testing itself.

Ideas are built by people, and a community that engages its membership and organizes horizontally is going to develop in more exciting and organic ways than a classroom hierarchy allows. It’s the peer group that the real work comes from. The Context Driven school has gladly embraced the community of testers, and that might be its secret strength.

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One comment

  1. It seems rational to me. Highly structured testing allows for a few smart people to have good ideas. Context-Driven testing, investing more in individuals’ skills, lets lots of smart people have good ideas.

    At BioWare we’re planning something of a hybrid, where the planned scripts give some baseline confidence and then context-driven testing does the heavy lifting in terms of finding critical issues fast. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

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