In 2011 I had the good fortune to work for Anne-Marie Charrett, as a Test Team Lead. At the time when other testers were already lining up for her Skype coaching services, I had not yet heard of Anne-Marie or context-driven testing. I still thought that Exploratory Testing meant ad-hoc testing, and that it was impossible to achieve good regression testing without test cases. I think Anne-Marie had a glimmer of hope for me because I held ‘Lessons Learned in Software Testing’ in high regard, and I was genuinely interested in software quality.
Bit-by-bit Anne-Marie managed to lure me away from my false-security blanket of regression test cases and test metrics. Over the course of a few months she left interesting articles on context-driven testing on my desk, suggested that I attend the Sydney Testers meetups, arranged corporate funding for AST membership and held a few re-training sessions for our test team. Eventually I took the leap, and enrolled in the BBST Foundations course to help me understand how I could possibly test the product thoroughly without my regression test cases.
I have heard this course described as “taking the red pill” and I think that’s apt. I found the course very challenging, and I greatly enjoyed debating testing ideas with testers around the globe. Concepts which seemed logical to me before I took the course now seem absurd. To think that I have announced in past meetings that testing was 80% complete, or that a release would take 6 weeks to test because that’s how long it took last time, all seems naive now.
Now I think I have the drive and support to be great at what I do, although I find myself currently unemployed. So the challenge I’m facing is – can I get hired at a company that wants great testers or test managers who use a context-driven approach, even though I’m not quite there yet in terms of experience? Or do I find a job within my previous comfort zone of standard test practices, which is like a favourite pair of jeans that no longer fit me quite right?
Either way, I’m glad that I eventually took the red pill.
(First published here)