Why I am context-driven – Jeanne Hofmans

This is the third blog in the series “Why am I Context-driven”. In this series every member of DEWT writes a personal story on why he or she is context-driven.

After graduating from my study in Software Technology I started to work as a tester. The reason? Although I liked to program, I enjoyed designing and testing more. Agile development was not yet a common practice and I knew that solely programming at my desk would not make me happy. I simply loved (and love) talking to other people: discussing strategies and questioning features. As a tester I could do just that. In my opinion testers play a central role in projects. As a tester I would need to communicate with designers, with the business, with developers, with project management, with QA, etcetera. Also I liked the act of testing. When other students had finished their work, I could not resist to ask: may I? After which I tried to ‘break’ their program. So I decided to make testing my career.

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius

On the job, working for several clients, I really learned a lot about testing. I saw how some things worked and some things did not. Sometimes paper and processes seemed to prevail over people and skills. That bothered me. For example when a risk analysis had been performed but was not actually used. Why spend time on the risk analysis in that case at all? I experimented with performing risk analyses and the way to implement a risk based strategy. One day I was discussing this with my colleague Ruud Cox. After that in-depth discussion he asked me if I would like to attend DEWT once. So I did.
At DEWT I found a group of people passionate about testing. Discussing all kind of aspects related to testing appealed to me. So I joined DEWT. At DEWT I learned about context driven testing (CDT). I really liked some of the principles of CDT, like the focus on people, skill and also playing with the product.

  • People: Jerry Weinberg’s definition of quality: “Quality is value to some person” clearly indicates the importance of people in quality and testing. Products are made by people and are to be used by people. Thus understanding people and interacting with people, asking questions, makes us better testers.
  • Skill: Several skills are of importance to testers. From general communication skills to being able to use several heuristics and test design techniques (as seen suited!)
  • Play: The ability to play makes us, people, different from a computer. Playing with the product helps us understand the product and find bugs that we otherwise would not find. Playing is also about fun.

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. – Aristotle

Basically all of these are about continuous learning. Learning by reference (discussing with peers and people having other viewpoints and backgrounds), learning by exercising, and learning by reading. Once you are more aware of possibilities and pitfalls, you can make better choices for your testing. As every project is unique, the solution to testing is also unique. And that is why I am a context driven tester.

About Jeanne Hofmans

Jeanne Hofmans has studied Software Technology at Utrecht University and now is a test consultant at Improve Quality Services. She has participated in many projects in both the financial and the technical domain. Lately Jeanne has worked as a test manager for the Sluiskiltunnel and as an auditor for several other safety critical systems as satellites and tunnels. At the moment she is a test consultant at BMeye. Jeanne is co-author of the book Quality Level Management – Managing Quality in outsourcing Jeanne is ISTQB Practitioner in Software Testing and is certified in TMap Next® and Prince2. She is an accredited tutor of ISTQB® Foundation. Jeanne is accredited by the TMMi Foundation as TMMi lead auditor. She is a member of TestNet, the association of testers in the Netherlands. She is also a member of DEWT (Dutch Exploratory Workshop on Testing).
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