It’s one thing to be exposed to new techniques from conferences and training courses, but it’s quite another thing to apply them in real life. A major reason is that people tend to focus on learning the technique without first grasping the underlying principles. Basic testing principles, such as the pesticide paradox of software defects and defect clustering, have been known for many years. Other principles, such as “Test automation is not automatic” and “Not every software failure is a defect,” are learned by experience. Once you grasp the principle, particular techniques become more applicable and extensible. However, principles take time to learn and much practice to apply well. Randy Rice explains why true learning and application are not instant and what it takes to really absorb what we learn. Randy shows how two specific techniques—pairwise testing and risk-based testing—can be misapplied unless the key concepts are first understood. Leave knowing how to build your own set of software testing principles that can be applied in many contexts.