Great blog post about exploratory testing by James Marcus Bach, and why some people Just Don’t Get It.
It’s difficult for them because Factory School people, by the force of their creed, seek to minimize the role of humanness in any technical activity. They are radical mechanizers. They are looking for algorithms instead of heuristics. They want to focus on artifacts, not thoughts or feelings or activities. They need to deny the role and value of tacit knowledge and skill. Their theory of learning was state of the art in the 18th century: memorization and mimicry. Then, when they encounter ET, they look from something to memorize or mimic, and find nothing.
Those of us who study ET, when we try to share it, talk a lot about cognitive science, epistemology, and modern learning theory. We talk about the importance of practice. This sounds to the Factory Schoolers like incomprehensible new agey incantations in High Elvish. They suspect we are being deliberately obscure just to keep our clients confused and intimidated.
As I’ve explained in previous blog posts, I’ve always taken an exploratory approach to testing, even if what I did wasn’t formally identified as such. Trying to force testing into a purely mechanical script-based approach not only sucks all the fun out of testing, risking disillusionment and burnout, but makes the actual testing less effective.
And while we’re on the subject of old-school techniques, are these guys for real? “Unlike a traditional development process, ours establishes all the system’s requirements before a line of code is written“. Seriously, folks, does anyone still try to develop software that way in 2011? Sounds like a perfect way to implement what the client thought they wanted eighteen months ago.
Remember that old cartoon of the swing hanging from the branch of the tree?