From One Expert to Another: James Bach


6. Jon: What do you think people mean when they say that an aim of testing is to achieve "complete coverage"? 

James: I think they mean they want to find every important bug, and they believe that to do that is a simple matter of glancing at the surface of their product and noticing the bugs politely waiting to be reported. 

It's fine to want to discover every important bug, but it's hardly a simple matter to do that. You don't fight crime by achieving "complete coverage" of a city with cameras or cops. You'll find some crime that way, but not all kinds of crime. Much crime, and many bugs, are more elusive than that. 

7. Jon: You and Cem Kaner were nominated with Jerry Weinberg for "Testing Luminary" not long ago. What does this tell you about the people who nominated you? 

James: It tells me that they must have been more a part of my community than the ISTQB or traditionalist or academic communities. In some communities, I'm totally unknown. In others, I'm reviled. But, among people I associate with and respect, Cem and Jerry are highly respected. 

8. Jon: What's been your proudest moment as a consultant? 

James: That would be the time I won a patent infringement lawsuit by using my super testing kung-fu kicks against a professor from Rice University, who was an insufferable arrogant snob. In your FACE, Rice University. 

The facts were on our side in that case, but still ... 

9. Jon: If the context-driven school were a brick-and-mortar university, what kinds of classes would it have? 

James: It depends! 

10. Jon: Out of all the countries in the world, which one has the most promising testing culture? 

James: My quick answer is Sweden. 

My deeper answer is I don't know about all the countries in the world. I just know about fifteen or sixteen of them. Besides, "promising" can mean different things. Of course, for me, promising means likely to innovate and develop in ways that I respect and adore. I'm opposed to stupid certification, so of course I'm going to avoid the land of TMap (Netherlands), where the shadows lie, and the land that produced the ISTQB (Germany). I'm also not going to highlight France, from whence I have not yet met a tester of any stripe. In general, I know nothing about countries that don't widely speak English, so there's a lot of bias here. 

I'm going with Sweden. Absolut! Bra! 

11. Jon: Back in 2003, you wrote a blog that apologized to India for underestimating their curiosity and passion. One of the reader comments was that there was no leader. Would you say they have one now, and, if so, what difference is that leader making? 

James: There isn't yet much leadership, but I would highlight Pradeep Soundararajan, Meeta Prakash, and Ajay Balamurugadas as three influential thinkers and doers. India is coming along. 

12. Jon: Is there anything you used to strongly believe when you were new to testing that you have rejected now? 

James: I used to believe in monolithic test teams—that everyone should have the same personality and the same skills on my teams. That meant everyone should be like me. Slowly, I had experiences that made me warmly appreciate people who do things I don't do and think things I don't think. Now, I believe in diversified test teams. 

User Comments

1 comment
Robert Rose-Coutré's picture
Robert Rose-Coutré

This was a very entertaining interview. I agree that what one does on one's last day on earth depends on the context.

November 21, 2011 - 2:03pm

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