image credit: http://j.mp/z6Y8PL
This week there was quite some ruckus about the alleged passing of the context driven school. All this was caused by what Cem Kaner wrote on the about page on www.context-driven-testing.com:
Oh, no! We have lost our safehouse where we found warmth and shelter. Now we insecure testers are again out in the cold and wandering about aimlessly. Let us therefore all shut down our brains and immediately join the factory school.
However, over the past 11 years, the founders have gone our separate ways. We have developed distinctly different visions. If there ever was one context-driven school, there is not one now. Rather than calling it a “school”, I prefer to refer to a context-driven approach.
Honestly, I am surprised by this eruption of un-coolness. Cem just decided to do something else. He is a free man. He can do whatever he wants. That is not a problem at all. A school does not just disappear. Maybe if it is a school-“building” and you - let’s say - blow it up with a few strategically placed sticks of dynamite. And even then it does not completely disappear. On the other hand schools of thought are immune to dynamite and very rarely disappear just like that. And even less so if there are many people still acting according to the principles every day.
What is a school of thought?
A school of thought is a collection of people who share the same or very similar beliefs about something. So as an example: Zen Buddhism is a school of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. They share some beliefs. And the context-driven school consists of people who subscribe to the following beliefs:
The seven basic principles
- The value of any practice depends on its context.
- There are good practices in context, but there are no best practices.
- People, working together, are the most important part of any project’s context.
- Projects unfold over time in ways that are often not predictable.
- The product is a solution. If the problem isn’t solved, the product doesn’t work.
- Good software testing is a challenging intellectual process.
- Only through judgment and skill, exercised cooperatively throughout the entire project, are we able to do the right things at the right times to effectively test our products.
How could these principles possibly have become invalid just because 1 person (albeit an important one) wrote the school is no longer. And now comes the crucial point: That is not even what Cem wrote. He wrote “If there ever was one context-driven school, there is not one now”. This only states that the founders have developed differently over time and may have even been different from the beginning. Not so surprising. I do not know of any two people with redundant brains. Well, maybe Thomson & Thompson from Tintin. But that is the comics world.
Stanislaw Lem said it perfectly in his advice for the future: “Macht euch locker und denkt ein bisschen!” (Take it easy and think a bit)
Therefore here is my advice: “Stay calm, get another beer and keep on thinking.”
BTW: Almost all domain name combinations of www.context-driven-school.com / .net / .org / .etc are still available. I am sure somebody among you has a good idea what to do with it.