In Kaner’s seminal blog post (www.satisfice.com/kaner/?p=15) in 2006, he asserted that the context-driven practice adds a fifth school of testing to the four defined by Bret Pettichord in his 2003 presentation. They’re summed up by Kaner roughly as follows:
- Factory school: reduces testing to automated routines or tasks delegated to cheap labor.
- Control school: processes that enforce and rely heavily on standards.
- Test-driven school: emphasis on code-focused testing by programmers.
- Analytical school: emphasis on analytical methods for assessing the quality of the software, including improvement of testability by improved precision of specifications and modeling.
- Context-driven: emphasis on adapting to the circumstances under which the product is developed and used.
Kaner’s post (which contains a link to the slides if you want more detail on Pettichord’s schools) concludes that there’s no agreement between testers on the “right” way to test. I would have to agree. That’s why the notion of “best practices” is not useful. Best for whom? And for what kind of testing?
When I took the reins of Software Test & Performance in Oct. 2006, the Best Practices column was described to me as a place to tell success stories involving the testing practices people are using. But it seems to us that failures also can be instructive; sometimes more so than successes. So the Best Practice gives way to the Case Study, which each month will present an instance of feat or folly. The column will remain in the capable hands of Joel Shore.
Let Go Of Testing
Sometimes the way to control something is to let it go. This month’s theme is about learning how to know when it’s time to call for take out. Did your company’s CTO just hand you a top-priority testing project? What if your budget is already bursting at the seams with overtime and your people have forgotten what their kids look like. You couldn’t possibly put any more on their plates and still face yourself in the mirror.
Often equated with the “giant sucking sound” of jobs being siphoned overseas, outsourcing doesn’t have to be synonymous with layoffs. In our lead story, independent test consultant Karen N. Johnson shares some of her instructive success and failures when calling for outside help, as do Matt Heusser and Chris McMahon in this month’s ST&Pedia.
Why not share some of your own stories with us at stpcollaborative.com? ?