Definitions of “Assure” from Miriam-Webster:

– to make safe – The testers don’t actually do anything that makes the code/products/releases safer. We provide information about potential risks, we point out logical flaws that could cause problems, but the developers are the ones that actually fix those.

– to give confidence to –

– to make sure or certain – This get’s to that perfection idea. I agree that it can’t be reached, so using words that it can be seems off

– to inform positively – This one worries me a bit, because that ‘assurance’ is not based on fact, “I assure you that we can do it”. I would rather provide information and facts that allows decision makers and other team members to make informed decisions.

– to make certain the coming or attainment of – see above

Exploratory Testing

James Bach states, “The plainest definition of exploratory testing is test design and test execution at the same time.”  I had a very interesting conversation this week where an individual made the following comment: Continue Reading


Paradox – A statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory

Bagdikian’s Observation

Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach’s ‘St. Matthew’s Passion’ on a ukulele.

In my post this week I talk about testers and investigative reporters having very similar responsibilities.  If a tester is stuck in an average or mediocre company, it will be very difficult for him or her to push forward and become a great tester.

My high school band director put this in another way:

Once you lick the lollipop of mediocrity, you will suck for the rest of your life.

I have ordered Ben Bagdikian’s book The New Media Monopoly to see if he has any other insights on the flow of information that can be applied to testing. I’ll let everyone know if I find anything.

Context-Driven Testing

Context-Driven Testing (CDT) is one of the concepts that I am pulling heavily from in pulling my team forward.  To me, CDT simply means to think about everything you are testing, the way you are testing it, and make sure that is pertinent to your current situation.  James Bach and Cem Kamer have written that much more eloquently in their information about this subject.  You can read their full definition here (  The 7 basic principles they claim make up this approach are listed below.

The Seven Basic Principles of the Context-Driven School

1.    The value of any practice depends on its context.

2.    There are good practices in context, but there are no best practices.

3.    People, working together, are the most important part of any project’s context.

4.    Projects unfold over time in ways that are often not predictable.

5.    The product is a solution. If the problem isn’t solved, the product doesn’t work.

6.    Good software testing is a challenging intellectual process.

7.    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.


Schema (schemata or schemas in plural form) is the term psychology that is used to describe the categories we create that help us understand the world around us.  These are the models we use to describe the world.

One can have a schema that describes the category of dogs as four-legged furry animals.  One could have a schema that describes unicorns as mythical creatures that fart rainbows and prance across meadows of clouds and cotton candy.  Our schema are defined by our past experiences and cognitions, and are used to describe the experiences and cognitions we will have in the future.