A debate with Rex Black on the value of schools of testing

At STPCon last week, Rex Black and I had a debate on “Schools of Testing: Useful Paradigm or Negative Influence?” The STP folks will be posting an audio recording of the debate one of these days. Along with those, here are my notes (the materials I put together to prepare for the debate) (http://kaner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/SchoolsStpConSlides.pdf).

Not surprisingly, Rex and I found a lot to disagree about, and we found some common ground.

I think there’s a lot of potential value in having more of these public discussions. One of the key reasons that we originally proposed the idea of “schools of thought” in software testing was to clarify the differences and provide structure for discussions about those.

In the long run, the best ideas of the context-driven school will prove wrong. That’s how it works in scientific/empirical enterprises. We come up with great ideas that get replaced by better ones. (Similar note: https://flowchainsensei.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/i-dont-want-agile-back/.)

Evolution of ideas happens

  • partially through adaption (trying stuff out and seeing how it doesn’t work, or could work better), and
  • partially through the grinding and shaping that comes when contrasting ideas are pushed against each other, again and again, until a better third way becomes visible.