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Dr. Cem Kaner - Software Test Luminary Award Winner 2012

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Cem Kaner is the lead author of Testing Computer Software, of Lessons Learned in Software Testing, of Bad Software, and second author of the just-published BBST Instructor's Manual. For another 300 papers and conference talks, see http://kaner.com/?page_id=7.

Kaner is also the primary creator of the widely praised collection of BBST online testing courses including Foundations of Software Testing, Bug Advocacy, and Test Design. He is one of the founders of the Association for Software Testing and, until recently, served as Vice-President of Education. He founded AST’s Education Special Interest Group and served as Chair for several years. Under his leadership, AST sponsored BBST classes that reached hundreds of testers around the world and trained dozens of instructors to teach using BBST materials.

Kaner co-created the Los Altos Workshops on Software Testing with Brian Lawrence & Drew Pritsker. He now hosts the LAWST-style Workshops on Teaching Software Testing (now in their 12th year). The LAWST format has been widely adopted in the United States (e.g. AWTA, IWST, WReST, and WOPR), Canada (TWST, WWST, and POST), Europe (DEWT, GATE, and SWET), New Zealand (KWST) and Australia (OZWST). The LAWST format was modified and adopted by the Association for Software Testing for their annual CAST conference.

Kaner is Professor of Software Engineering and Director of the Center for Software Testing Education & Research at the Florida Institute of Technology, which was recently (2012) rated as a Tier 1 Best National University by U.S. News & World Report, as one of America's Top Colleges by Forbes, and as the Best College for Return on Investment in Florida by Bloomberg Businessweek. He holds doctorates in law and in experimental psychology.

Before coming to university, Kaner worked in Silicon Valley (1983 to 2000): programming, testing, designing user interfaces, writing user manuals (and managing these functions). Kaner was an early advocate and practitioner of social science methods in software testing, including human factors engineering and qualitative research methods. For example, while he was a software development manager, he and David Pels conducted a thorough study of customer and media reactions to a key product, including interviewing customers who had abandoned the product, focus groups of product users, and content analyses of support call records, internet comments, and product reviews. Kaner used these data to drive a year of maintenance/enhancement that drove down customer support costs and improved customer satisfaction. Kaner also studied his market by working weekends at Egghead Software, selling his competitors' products to understand why customers liked them. And as a manager coping with organizational politics, he trained with Psylomar (an organizational development consulting firm), becoming one of their Associates. The LAWST workshop design was an outgrowth of his experience in Psylomar.

Kaner is one of the founders of the context-driven school of software testing (http://www.context-driven-testing.com):
"Context-driven testers choose their testing objectives, techniques, and deliverables (including test documentation) by looking first to the details of the specific situation, including the desires of the stakeholders who commissioned the testing. The essence of context-driven testing is project-appropriate application of skill and judgment. The Context-Driven School of testing places this approach to testing within a humanistic social and ethical framework."
Context-driven testing, as Kaner sees it, is a vehicle for raising testers' awareness and skill, not a platform for dividing the field and disparaging the views of people who think differently. In his blog, he writes
"In my view, there are legitimate differences in the testing community. I think that each of the major factions in the testing community has some very smart people, of high integrity, who are worth paying attention to. I’ve learned a lot from people who would never associate themselves with context-driven testing."
For example, one of the dividers sometimes laid at the door of context-driven testing is "testing versus checking" as if formal or scripted approaches to testing are not real testing. When Kaner coined the term exploratory testing in Testing Computer Software, he specifically recommended that testers blend their work, doing a mix of exploratory and formal testing. Both can be done well or poorly. Both have their role in our field.

Kaner's current research is focused on high-volume automated testing -- a collection of techniques that he and Doug Hoffman have been studying together since 1998. Kaner's lab is creating reference implementations. Each implementation is open source code that demonstrate application of a high-volume automated testing technique. With a few reference implementations per technique, he believes he can finally develop courseware that can make this approach to testing more understandable and more easily applied by the average tester.

Kaner has also played a role in the software testing community as an attorney, focused on the law of software quality. He wrote a consumer protection book with David Pels (Bad Software) and helped draft legislation and judicial guidelines. His work helped shape (and is repeatedly quoted in) the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Software Contracts. He has been honored for this work by the American Law Institute, which elected him as a member, and by the Association for Computing Machinery with its "Making a Difference Award" which is "presented to an individual who is widely recognized for work related to the interaction of computers and society. The recipient is a leader in promoting awareness of ethical and social issues in computing."

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