If Devil's Advocate were a sport, James Bach would play it professionally. You'd see him on TV promoting Magnetic Analysis Corporation's Finned Tube Test Coils ("Flux leakage analysis done RIGHT!"). Alas there is no such sport, so he's a consulting software tester instead.
James owns and operates Satisfice, Inc. He's a founder and leading voice in the Context-Driven school of testing (one of our industry's several prominently competing communities of practice). He's also a founding member of the Association for Software Testing. He has written many articles, co-authored "Lessons Learned in Software Testing", and wrote "Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar", a book about technical self-education. He has introduced numerous ideas to the industry, including formalized exploratory testing, the Allpairs test tool, session-based test management, sapient testing, blink testing, visual test strategy, models of software risk and testability, "good enough" quality analysis, and numerous heuristics in support of rapid testing. He also co-created the online, free, Black-Box Software Testing course.
A disruptive and angry teenager, he quit high school and became a disruptive and happy adult. Self-taught in computers, he became a professional video game programmer at 17. A few years later, Apple Computer tried him out as test manager, and he never looked back. He worked in Silicon Valley for nearly ten years before going independent and becoming one of the most outspoken advocates of skilled sapient testing.
These days, he consults on difficult and high stakes testing projects, such as medical devices (in partnership with QualiTest) and software-related court cases. He teaches his Rapid Testing methodology around the world and via text-based coaching sessions over Skype.
James believes that skill is the crux of good testing, and testing skills are developed through practice and debate, not by memorizing aphorisms or vocabulary words, counting test cases, or by filling out TPS reports. This is one of the reasons he is opposed to every commercial form of tester certification currently available, and never uses the term "best practice", except ironically or when criticizing that concept. His ambition is to keep our craft free and open so that bad practitioners have no way to hide behind ceremonial standards and formulaic doctrines of testing that don't work.