Example-driven School of Testing – Updates II

Yesterday I decided to bring more light into the darkness of my renaming proposal of the Agile Testing school. Therefore I raised my points on the Agile Testing mailing list. There were some valueable feedbacks and I identified the next points where clarification is necessary. As a side effect I started doubting the phrase “School” to do any good to the discussion.

First things first. One reply made me aware of the left-open question on Bret Pettichord’s foils: Do I have to pick a school? A similar discussion arose while compiling together the Software Craftsman’s Ethic. At one point we agreed that the ethics we wrote together so far should be viewed as one school of Software Craftsmanship. While reflecting on the term “school”, we came to the point where we tried to replace the term with guilde and the like. Answering Bret’s question, whether or not to pick a school, I refuse to do so. The Craftsmanship Manifesto teaches me one thing: The more practices you know and learn and maintain, the better prepared you are for your job at hand. This is the essence of the second statement of the manifesto and the “learn” portion of the ethics:

We consider it our responsibility 
  to hone our craft in pursuit of mastery;
    therefore, we 
      continuously explore new technologies and
      read and study the work of other craftsmen.

This means that I do not have to pick one school. By knowing how to combine together valueable lessons from each of the schools, I have a more powerful set of tools at hand. While replying to James Bach on this I realised that the combination of the Context-driven School and the Example-driven School is quite valueable. Gerald M. Weinberg wrote about this several decades ago:

…putting together two ideas to form a new one that’s better than either of it’s parents…

Copulation is a key to innovation; the opposite of it that gets into the way of creative new ideas is the No-Problem Syndrome. Read on in Becoming a Technical Leader.

My closing note: Thinking in schools seems to tend to thinking in drawers. Refuse to stop thinking while using the schools approach as a tool for reducing the complexity in order to get a suitable model that your brain can understand. You shouldn’t forget that humans are more complex than your mind might handle, though.