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This is in continuation to the previous post about views of the Indian Testing Community on Schools of Testing. This post contains the outcome of the brainstorming sessions conducted in two organizations, namely McAfee Software (India) and Applabs Technologies. I will publish the names of the participants in the Thanks note for this series. I request the readers to take these views in a way healthier than ever. The people who have expressed their opinion mostly represent that part of Indian testing community, which is directly dealing with testing products or applications. So, I consider these as “Views-from-the-shop-floor“, which is essential for any subject. If you feel that the testers in your organization have a totally different view, I suggest that you conduct a similar session and share the views as comments herein, or publish them elsewhere and send me the URL. I will edit the post to include those views.

As the concept was new to most of the people, who were a part of the brainstorming sessions, I introduced the concept in the first few minutes. I took care that I am neither selling the concept nor rebuking it. It was just an introduction. I was physically present in only one of these sessions, which was conducted at McAfee Software (India). For the second session, which was conducted at Applabs Technologies, I discussed in decent detail with the moderator of the session about the points to be introduced.

I have categorized the views into an easy to read Q/A session format, by compiling different aspects that were touched in the sessions. The questions are either directly related to the concept of schools of testing or to the basis of division into schools.
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What’s the practical value of the concept of ‘Schools of Testing’?
The ‘Schools of Testing’ concept has no practical value for the testing practitioners. Most of them expressed that they had not known the concept earlier. Now, having known about it, the situation still remains the same. It won’t impact the way they work, they do not even bother to think that while testing, what kind of school they are exhibiting.

Are you able to categorize yourself into a particular school?
No
Why?
All schools have some desirable features. So, saying that if one belongs to a particular school will deprive him or her of some good features of the other schools. And if one says that he is basically from one school but puts so and so features of other schools into use as well, goes against the punch line of most of the advocates of schools of testing – “One can not belong to multiple schools”.

Do you believe in the existence of ‘Best Practices’?
Most of the participants answered that there are some practices which are helpful as per historical statistics and can be employed with little risks. So, ‘Yes! There are best practices”. Or to be precise “There are practices, that even if are not the best, are very useful”. The key output of debate over this was that some practices are definitely useful and can be employed repetitively after evaluation of the current requirement. ‘Best Practices’ is a subjective term and the list of best practices varies from person to person.

How do you associate the present Indian testing scenario to schools of testing?
In the present scenario, one is left with little choice for choosing the way he or she tests. In most cases, one has to adjust to the way testing is going on in a particular organization. This is especially true for testers in the first few years of their career.

Should we document test cases?
It is desirable to document test cases. This way, we can reap the benefits of a combined knowledge pool, instead of starting afresh every time. This is especially true for iterative testing. Exploratory Testing in addition to scripted testing can do wonders. The test cases discovered during exploratory testing, can be made a part of the formal scripted testing, for the next cycle.

Should we automate testing?
Some tests can be done on time, only with automation. Example is Performance Testing. But this should not stop one to conduct manual tests as a part of exploratory testing or as a part of testing, which was not considered from automation.


What impact can the type of industry (product/services) have on views about the concept?
Type of industry impacts the way testing is done. Services industry goes for lot of processes and metrics to keep a track of testing. The number of iterations for testing o any application is not large in number, so manual testing becomes a choice many a times. For a product company, with frequent builds, automating test cases becomes a necessity. Also, mostly a product company will not go for quality processes implementation and people have more freedom to experiment w.r.t the way they test something.

What is the impact of the schedule of a project on the ‘schools’?
During the testing, we may belong to multiple schools. This depends upon the time that we are given to test a product. Suppose we are given ample time, we can follow all the processes and can be into Quality school. If we are not given much time, we can test only the major functionality and hence the context driven school. Suppose we are given more time to analyze the bugs that usually occurs in any project, we can make the development aware of these things and hence can help them to develop much better code. In this case we are in Agile school.

What is your general approach towards testing?
Most of the times, we do testing based on the context (situation). This is a common tendency of a tester and hence it can not be treated as a separate school at all. Even if we are in any school, most of the times we behave based on the context only. So, context based is a part of every school. Moreover, whatever one thinks, the way a testing project will be carried out will depend on lot of factors as discussed (I have consolidated those points purposefully prior to this question). So, what we suggest and what we have to do might be altogether different.
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The above is a glimpse of what Indian Testing community thinks about Schools of Testing. As mentioned, you might have altogether different views. I encourage you to give an expression to your thoughts. You can leave your comments here or publish it elsewhere and send me the link.

The next post will summarize what has been discussed so far.

This is the tenth post in the series “The Big Fight – Schools of Testing”. For my previous posts on Schools of Testing, you can check the posts under the Schools of Testing Category.

Rahul Verma

www.testingperspective.com

10 Responses to “The Big Fight – Schools of Testing – Views of Indian Testing Community – II”

  1. Ben Simo

    Very interesting. Some of the responses from testers lead me to think that many may be so entrenched in the factory school that they don’t recognize it.

    Ben Simo
    QualityFrog.com

  2. Rahul Verma

    Hi Ben,

    Good to see you on my blog.

    Whether or not they are entrenched in Facotry school is again something debatable. You are in favour of the concept of schools, so you see all these views with the corresponding vision. Others might not be comfortable with this categorization at all. I like the schools concept, but not as something which is universally applicable.

    I am in the process of writing My Final Thoughts. Till now, I have been compiling what others have expressed. I expect some good debate, when I put my opinion.

    Please cosnider this as a personal invitation to read my post on ‘My Final Thoughts’.

    Regards,
    Rahul Verma.

  3. Pradeep Soundararajan

    Rahul,

    Why would you want to call your next post as “Final Thoughts”?

    Aren’t you going to learn anything more about the topic after you write it?

    Aren’t you open to new ideas or thoughts that come out after you write the post?

    Would you welcome a new thought that comes from a person to whom you referenced or quoted?

    I guess you are open to new ideas after you publish your next post but maybe the title of the post might contradict and hence I suggest you to rename the title to something else. When something has gone well so far, why contradict in the conclusion part?

  4. Shrini Kulkarni

    Rahul,

    I am not surprised by these comments from “from the shop floor” of the Indian testing community.

    You might recollect Pradeep’s view that “Indian testing is community is too naive to understand” the school concept. It is an oblivious situation. Like living in stone age …

    I recall Debasis asking – “Shall we live and complete our entire life as software tester without knowing and acknowledging school concept” – My answer — Yes you can. That is OK. It is like saying “can live a life of an atheist (non believer) – some one who does not believe in any religious notions and beliefs”.

    To understand the school concept, one needs to understanding testing very deeper. It requires the understanding of fundamental disagreements that exist in today’s testing world and reconcile them. Failure to acknowledge them is like “Attentional blindness” – I choose not to accept the fact that there is four items in front of me because I do not understand them”

    Fundamental reason for this kind of mind set is – Confusion
    Confusion between —
    Process and Method
    Skill vs Technique
    Belief vs Technique
    Good vs Useful
    Standard vs Useful
    Doctrine vs Value system

    Since people don’t understand testing deeply enough – they can not appreciate school concept. I am working on a consolidated post to answer all “Against to school” — All those who do not agree with school concept – Keep your best foot forward – you will have replies from me ….

    Shrini

  5. Shrini Kulkarni

    >>>> Whether or not they are entrenched in Factory school is again something debatable.

    Debatable? Debatable would mean there are views that indicate otherwise. Please present the proof and evidence that they are not thinking like factory school member. I would like to see strong points against the school. So far I have seen only superficial arguments against it – with most in Indian community hijacking the whole theme and talking about education in testing, skill development etc.

    Shrini

  6. Shrini Kulkarni

    >>>if one says that he is basically from one school but puts so and so features of other schools into use as well, goes against the punch line of most of the advocates of schools of testing – “One can not belong to multiple schools”.

    The responder in this case – seems to have a big confusion between “practices and techniques” and “Beliefs and Value system”.

    If I were to re-iterate Dr Cem kaner’s example – Domain testing or say Boundary Testing – it is a technique and DOES NOT BELONG to any SCHOOL. All schools can use it a way that appropriate to their school’s “BELIEFS” and “VALUE SYSTEM” or “TESTING PHILOSOPHY”

    Hence it is incorrect to say “features of one school can not be put into use in other school” Practices, methods and techniques are independent of schools.

    Now coming to punchline of schools “One can not belong to two schools at same time” – It is simply because the beliefs and value systems of the schools are way different.

    Factory school thinks that testing is a repeatable Engg process where as Analytical school thinks testing as branch of mathematics/CS.

    So you can not have one to have such varying and contradicting beliefs about testing. Hence the exclusion.

    Shrini

  7. Rahul Verma

    Hi Pradeep,

    When I had a look at the title some days back, I too thought that it might be taken in the way you are interpreting it.

    I am in the process of writing my thoughts (see how carefully I have removed the word final :)), and you will find an explanation for the mentioned title as well. But point taken! I am changing the title of the post to “My Thoughts”.

    I am open to all views and inputs. So, you can be sure that I will not put any points in a stubborn way. But as discussed, I will express everything as frankly and honestly as I can. I am sure that you and all the readers will take my views in a healthy way, as always.

    Thanks for the input.

    Regards,
    Rahul Verma.

  8. Pradeep Soundararajan

    Rahul,

    I am happy that you are open to change and ideas. You demonstrated a skill that a tester should have.

    Welcoming change and ideas is an important skill that testers should posses in my opinion.

    I shall obviously enjoy your thoughts because you have read or gathered more information on schools of testing than me or even other wise there might be some thought process that you must have undergone to write something.

  9. Rahul Verma

    Hi Shrini,

    Thanks for the visit and for multiple comments highlighting your views on different opinions expressed in this post.

    I agree to the concept that most of the testers from Indian testing community did not bother to even read about the schools of testing, whereas so much discussion was going on at so many places. Lesson here is that Indian testers should read more testing literature than they do and should try to be aware of what is going on in the testing community.

    I would not call the Indian testing community as naive or immature, there is no formal evaluation done so far to come to this conclusion. There is simply no benchmark. I have dealt with many Indian testers who think very well (I will like to name you and Pradeep in this context), and I have seen many non-Indian testers, who were not up to mark. So, I am not in favour of generalization that Indian testers are naive or immature. Infact I do not believe in any kind of generalization.

    I am not against the concept of schools of testing, but I have some views to share. I invite you to read my next post. I guess that post will be the correct place for a healthy discussion of what I think and what I should think. This post is more on the outcome of a brainstorming session, I do not want to argue for the views that might not be mine.

    As for what I stated regarding factory school, what I mean to say is that all the views expressed in this post do not necessarily indicate Facotry school thinking. So, it’s not correct (even for a believer of schools) to label ALL the views as belonging to Factory school. e.g. a person who evaluates and thinks for having a good mix of automation, scripted (manual) and exploratory testing, is not a Factory school tester. Some of the views might indicate Factory schools thinking, whereas others are definitely not. That’s what I stated.

    Thanks again for the visit.

    Regards,
    Rahul Verma.

  10. Ben Simo

    I agree to the concept that most of the testers from Indian testing community did not bother to even read about the schools of testing, whereas so much discussion was going on at so many places. Lesson here is that Indian testers should read more testing literature than they do and should try to be aware of what is going on in the testing community.

    This same is true in the US. Many testers only do and learn what their employer tells them to do and learn. I believe this often puts people into a specific school — in practice — without the tester realizing that there is much more beyond their experience. Things like blogs, magazines, and conferences will expose testers to thinking outside their own experience. However, many people seem to be happy in whatever box they’ve put themselves into. It is sometimes said that ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is also boring.

    There are days that boring is more attractive than the people and political challenges that arise as we try to educate others to think outside their self-imposed boxes.

    Ben Simo
    QualityFrog.com

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