Monday, April 11, 2011

What being a Context-Driven Tester means to me

I guess it’s that time again.  What time is that, you ask?  It’s the time when discussion/debate flares up over Context-Driven. I’m not going to weigh in on the whole discussion of pros/cons, value/distraction, etc.  I am a consultant.  I am Context-Driven (and not just as a tester, it's simply the way I have operated since long before I was a tester and long before I became aware someone had coined a term and composed a set of principles around how I already operated).  The license plate on my car says “CONTEXT”. It works for me.  But my point isn’t to convince you that it’s right for you.  My point is to address a comment that I frequently hear that *feels* very sad to me.

Where I work, I don’t have the freedom or authority to implement all this Context-Driven stuff, so I guess I don’t get to be part of the club.
I find this sad, because I don’t agree.  It is my opinion that “Where I work, I don’t have the freedom or authority…” *is* a "driving context", making smart decisions about what you are empowered to choose, and appropriately trying to inform/educate those who are "driving your context" that there are other options qualifies as being Context-Driven... at least to me.

What follows is something I drafted for an org that had recently decided that it wanted to adopt the principles of being Context-Driven, but didn’t want to inadvertently offend members whose context was largely dictated by decisions outside of their sphere of influence.  Due to a wide variety of unrelated circumstances, what I wrote never got presented to the org & got lost and forgotten on my hard drive.  I recently found it and wanted to share it with everyone because I think it’s valuable.