Aaron Hodder is an experienced and passionate context-driven tester. Before joining Assurity, Aaron worked at Metra Weather as a Test Analyst for the Weatherscape XT product, a weather graphics presentation system used by TV stations nationwide.
Aaron is active in the testing community, having co-founded WeTest, attending the peer conference KWST and presenting at STANZ on using Lean Visual methods to plan and report on testing activities. Aaron will be giving a presentation at CAST 2013 on Mind Maps – A practical, lean, visual tool for test planning and reporting
How did you find yourself being an advocate of Context Driven Testing?
When I started out testing, I was one of three testers in an organisation of around 50 developers. The testing budgets I was given was often in the order of hours or days, not of weeks or months. It was an environment where I put my hand up to be a tester, and now suddenly had to learn what testing actually was. I was very insecure for several months. I was testing in a primarily exploratory manner, and talking directly with developers, but I was worried, after all, the textbooks told me I should be writing test plans, and I should be writing test scripts with expected results, and pre-conditions. But it wasn’t working for me.
To write the test script, I had to interact with the application and learn about it. Then I would write the script. But I had already performed the test I was about to script! At a conference, I timidly approached James Bach, and expressed my concern that I wasn’t testing “by the book”. He responded, “Why would you want to test by the book? The books are wrong!”
At that moment, a door opened, and I realised that I could set up my own sail, and develop my own ideas on what testing could be; that what constituted good testing depends on the context you find yourself in. I started seeing other testers around me in other organisations writing massive test documents and saw it for what it was: mostly ceremonial paper pushing.
It was then I realised there are two futures in my chosen profession. A future in which software testers are interchangeable commodities performing clerical superficial checks and wasting a lot of money, or a future in which software testers are respected and skilled members of a software development team who bring their critical and lateral thinking skills to bear to find problems noone thought about. I know which I want to be a part of, and I try to bring as many people along with me.