RST – Would Michael or James attend their course if they weren’t running it?

I was having a discussion with SimonK over on Software Testing Clubs forum in a thread regarding education in testing & where you spend your buck in doing it.

I’m an advocate of the Context Driven school of testing. I wasn’t really aware of this until I actually started reading around the subject of testing and realised the principles & ideas of this school closely match my own. In some cases, it even defined my working practices which I didn’t realise I was doing (this may have something to do with cognitive bias & me looking to affirm my actions).

I have thrown myself headlong into this school of thought & have recently attend a highly context driven rapid testing course. Now I find myself preaching about it on forums & blog posts as I try to make sense of what I learnt on the course (the novelty will wear off I’m sure, & the comments sections will be free of my spiel once again!)

Anyway, I was promoting the Rapid Software Testing course provided by Michael Bolton & James Bach on the education in testing forum, in particular to SimonK (I’ll lay off now Simon, I promise).

I was like a Staffie with a bone – I just wouldn’t have a bad word said about the course which I’d just paid my hard-earned cash on (cognitive bias again?) & whose content I agreed with until he posed the question:

would James or Michael take the RST course if they weren’t running it?

This kinda threw my argument as initially I don’t think they would.

But then I felt this course would be more up their street (than a certification course) because it is based on many years experience in the testing field, provides useful tools for efficient learning &/in testing & they love to learn. (BTW I have asked Michael & James the question as well, but these are my thoughts)

I spent a while musing over the question trying to work out why I was so confused. I think the answer has come to me – what’s the context?

The question doesn’t have context, and as such has many answers :

Would James or Michael attend the course if they had their current experience, but somebody else was running it?” – I’d say yes as they would be interested to see what others have to offer.

Would James or Michael attend the course if they did not have their current experience & they were trying to improve their testing?” – I’d say yes as they’re still learning their craft, even with their current experience.

…if they were thinking of running their own course?” – Again, yes – they’d want to see what their potential competitors are upto.

I see a problem here, so I’m going to stop – all the contexts I’m thinking of always lead to a ‘yes’ response to the question. I think this primarily due to the fact that ‘yes’ is the answer I want, but also it is logical. I’ve tried using programmers here who dont have the bias, but still the answer is ‘yes’. 

I could reverse the question & ask “why wouldn’t James or Michael take the RST course if they weren’t running it?

Some of the reasons they might want to attend:

  • They are critical thinkers – they would want to see what all schools of thought have to offer so that they have an informed opinion (they are happy to lay their cards on the table)
  • They are always learning – they actively seek out information, both in testing & numerous other fields
  • They are businessmen – they would want to know what to deliver in a course if they were interested in starting one up 

That’s enough of me trying to answer the question for them, I’ll ask them the same question so that they can answer for themselves.