The “Jedi Knights” of Context-Driven Software Testing

The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talked about Fight Club. Lucky for us, that rule does not apply to the Context-Driven School of Software Testing.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the context-driven school has amassed a global following in just a few short years years, despite some initial confusion on the part of newbies…What is a context-driven tester? What is the basic premise? How is it different from the other prominent “schools” of testing? And what does one have to do to become a member?

James Bach – the founding father of CDT – posted a great overview of the principles this past weekend in an article titled “The Dual Nature Of Context-Driven Testing.” He offers some key distinctions on what the term means, what it doesn’t mean, and how you can grow as a tester by learning more about its principles. Here are a few important excerpts (emphasis mine), beginning with an abridged definition:

The Context-Driven School of software testing is a way of thinking about testing, AND a small but world-wide community of like-minded testers. There are other, larger, schools of testing thought. But CDT represents my paradigm of testing. By paradigm, I mean an organizing worldview, an ontology, a set of fundamental beliefs.

CDT is not a style of testing. It’s not a toolbox of methods. It’s more fundamental than that. You could think of  CDT partly as an ethical position about testing. All methods or styles are available to Context-Driven people, but our selection of methods and reactions to testing situations are conditioned by our ethical position. This position is defined here.

Reading further, it occurred to me that the context-driven school is well-represented on the uTest Blog. To illustrate this alliance, I’ve included links to the names of those “Jedi Knights” who have made contributions on this site. Here’s the excerpt:

Because testing (and any engineering activity) is a solution to a very difficult problem, it must be tailored to the context of the project, and therefore testing is a human activity that requires a great deal of skill to do well. That’s why we must study it seriously. We must practice our craft. Context-driven testers strive to become the Jedi knights of testing.

Aside from the idea, this is also a community. It is a world-wide movement. The most prominent leaders within the CDT school include: Cem Kaner, James Bach, Jon Bach, Michael Bolton, Doug Hoffman, Paul Holland, Matt Heusser, Mike Kelly, Rob Sabourin, Ben Simo, Henrik Andersson, Ajay Balamurugadas, Shrini Kulkarni, Pradeep Soundararajan, Bernie Berger, Selena Delesie, Sajjadul Hakim, Julian Harty, Karen Johnson, Jonathan Kohl, Tobbe Ryber, Meeta Prakash, S. Dhanasekar, and Jerry Weinberg. I may have left a few people out. This list is off the top of my head.

We urge everyone interested in learning more about CDT to read (and re-read) the thoughts of its leading practitioners. As James reminds us, you don’t have to learn a secret handshake or memorize the Greek alphabet to gain entrance:

Context-Driven Testing is an open community in the sense that anyone can speak up and contribute. The way you become leader in our circle is by having ideas, offering them publicly, and engaging in debate about them. Then, as your ideas are tested, you earn your reputation.

Happy testing.

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