I introduced this series of posts on Schools of Testing and talked about the origin of this concept, in the previous posts. Now, it’s time to discuss that going by the definition of a school of testing, into how many and what schools of testing, the proponents of this concept have categorized the testing community. If we go by what the three experts have to say about it, what the blogs say or what some dicussion groups say, the numbers and types of schools are not freezed. What I mean to say is that different experts have different opinion about the number and even names of schools, though they all agree to the undelying concept. Here it goes…

Bret Pettichord mentioned the number of schools of testing as four, and has since added the fifth school. The original list included Analytical, Factory, Quality Assurance and Context-Driven schools. The new list includes Agile School as the fifth school and the name of the “Factory” school has been changed to Standard School. The other changes are Analytic school instead of Analytical school and Quality schools instead of Quality Assurance school. The change in name of Factory school was inspired by a lot of debate in the context driven software-testing yahoo group. Infact some people were not in favor of even the name Standard School, as it conveys that it is the standard school. Some recommended Standards school instead. Amazing! Right? This whole lot of problems and debate is governed by the fact that the concept of schools was institutionalized by three experts, who during the corresponding discussion itself found out that all three of them are from “Context-Driven school. The names of the other schools were also devised by these three experts which some of the people in the testing community did not find optimum. This was true particularly for the name of “Factory” school, which was not received well.

Cem Kaner lists the schools in his recent blog post as Factory, Control, Test Driven, Analytical and Context Driven schools. James Bach in his blog further extends the list and says,”I see the testing world in terms of six major schools of testing. These include the “breakthrough” schools of Analytical, Control, and Test-Driven Design, and the “pragmatic” schools of Oblivious, Factory, and Context-Driven. The breakthrough schools generally hope to reduce or eliminate the need for independent testing. The pragmatic schools generally accept the idea of dedicated software testers and deal with the problem of how testers should get the job done.” I could not find any further information for the basis of this classification.

From the above discussion, it is clear that the three experts who originated the concept of Schools of Testing have different names and categorization for the number and types of schools. One immediate thought that is coming in my mind is that if three people who develop a concept have different opinion about the concept, then how many such differences in thoughts will be there in the minds of lakhs of Software Testing practitioners across the globe, for whom this thought is new! Will it be easy to convince them about the number of schools as 4,5 or 6 and the corresponding names? How many of them, while agreeing to the base concept, will come up with their own categorization and numbers? Who will be the ultimate authority to freeze the final names when these dicussions get prolonged?

It is not as simple as it seems to be. At times it turns out to be quite confusing. Atleast so am I! I will go back and read some further stuff on the subject. Meanwhile, if you are also new to the concept, visit the links provided in this mail or otherwise, to understand the concept better.

In the next couple of posts, I will discuss about what different people have expressed in favour of or against this concept so far.

Rahul Verma

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