Testing In The Pub Episode 7 – Schools Of Testing

It’s time for episode 7 of our software testing podcast. In this episode we talk about the idea of ‘schools of testing’ and compare and contrast approaches such as those from the ISTQB and context-driven communities.

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10 thoughts on “Testing In The Pub Episode 7 – Schools Of Testing”

  1. Great podcast this week chaps! I’m definitely going to be circulating this one to my peers.

    It’s funny that you should mention inter-school bickering. Rosie Sherry wrote a blog post on the MoT site yesterday where she was asking about testers’ bugbears; I haven’t commented yet, but this was going to be mine. I’m happy to hear healthy debate, the problem is that (particularly in the case of factory-school vs contest-driven) it’s hard to get the parties to cross-communicate. There was a really good STP Radio Podcast featuring James Bach which focused on this recently, where James was expressing frustration after repeated attempts to engage in open, frank discussion with his equivalent factory-school community leaders.

    Regarding events, I think a single-school focus can work, and I’d point to Let’s Test as an example of that, promoting the context-driven school above others. (Though that’s not to say that it refuses to acknowledge other schools; it is acutely aware that theirs is not the only way of testing, and will often highlight the differences.) I find it’s a useful jumping-off point to know that (almost) everyone in a room follows (mostly) the same principles. That said, I’m attending EuroSTAR this year, and through its diverse programme I’m expecting to benefit just as much from a wide selection of voices (even if I’m disagreeing with a few of those voices – as long as it’s healthy, respectful debate).

    I think the idea of a “testing portfolio” (for interviews etc) is an interesting one. Previously I wasn’t sure what I could put into one; test artifacts such as test plans or bug reports would need to be highly anonymised, and much of a tester’s role involves discussion/facilitation which doesn’t translate well to a written body of work. Recently I’m finding some better ways to communicate what I do; as you said, community interaction (particularly via blogs/presentations) can generate useful reference material.

    Going back to what you suggested, that some people might lie about having ISTQB qualifications when they haven’t, so that they can get their foot through the interview door…? That’s a new one to me – I’d feel uneasy that a candidate had misrepresented themselves, and although they could recover that with a good discussion about why the industry is in a state where they deem that this sort of thing is necessary, they’d be starting on the back foot. My mantra would be “if they won’t see you without an arbitrary qualification, maybe they’re not the company for you in the first place” – but then I’m not approaching this from the same position because I (like many people) do have at least an entry-level ISTQB grade. (I even had the logo on my CV for a while, what was I thinking…)

    1. Hi Neil,

      Thanks for the comments. I listened to the STP podcast as well; it’s a good point James makes about engagement. Personally I’d hope each side can find common ground, and if the majority of the software testing community attempt to do just that then it should make those at the fringes, who are refusing to cooperate, increasingly marginalised. Unfortunately there are always going to be some people who, for ideological or financial reasons usually, refuse to integrate. We just have to ensure that they are not the one’s leading the debate.

      Glad you are enjoying the podcasts.

  2. ISEB on CVs! My pain! I do not have ISEB, yet being an Tester for years, whom had moved on to development, but back in the testing world for the past 3 years. Looking to move my career on to Automation testing I get a lot of rejection due to not having ISEB, to the fact I’m trying to save up and put myself through the exam, just for a mark on my CV.

      1. Excellent article and I can understand what you mean on it, I’m hopeful that a new job (soon) will mean they will put my on the ISTQB Foundation, but need to get the job first! 🙂

        BTW say ‘Hi’ to Dan an ex-college 🙂

  3. Real nice debate. I loved a lot of the discussion points and arguments. I am a strong believer in apprenticeship. This is seldom viewed as part of any school of testing and sometimes ignored as a best practice within a testing team.
    Currently I am working on a system of cataloging testing related blog post in order to facilitate apprenticeship (at least at this level- looking at what other people have to say about testing related topics).

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