What has the CDT Community ever done for me?

There’s been a lot of commentary on Twitter & in the blogosphere about the Context Driven Testing (CDT) community & in particular James Bach & Michael Bolton.

I wanted to take some time to reflect on how influential the CDT community has been for me, including the help, input & advice from James & Michael.

Obviously, there are so many in the CDT community I need to thank for helping me get to where I am today, but that is not the purpose of the post.

Arguably, I wouldn’t be the thinker yet alone the tester I am today without the CDT community.

I discovered CDT back in 2009 when I had the scales lifted from my eyes around testing and software development in general (it was the beginning of my first Agile testing role).

Yes, there have been some less than successful interactions between folk in & out of the CDT community – I’m not commenting on those as I was not involved in them.

For those interactions I was involved in that did require deep discussion, I like to think I rose to the challenge & spoke to the individual/s directly rather than through the constraining medium of Twitter.

Here’s a list of some of the benefits I’ve received from the CDT community, all without spending any money (i.e. for FREE!):

Context Driven Testing Community

  • A human approach to software testing that I had not seen before
  • A language I can actually relate to & use
  • A language that others outside testing can understand & use
  • A pool of learning resources that I would have been unlikely to discover
  • A raft of seemingly non-related topics which have a direct impact on testing
  • A community of people willing to
    • give up their time & ideas to help me (& others) get better at testing
    • have the trust to challenge each others ideas & be challenged
    • share their opinions & experiences, however humiliating, so that others can learn from them


Maybe it was because I found James & Michael to be the loudest advocates of CDT when I discovered the principles back in 2009, but I have found their work has really transformed my thinking.

From their work, I have been fortunate enough to discover fabulous work from both inside & outside the CDT community.

So, this is what James Bach & Michael Bolton have done for me to help me progress:


  • Numerous Skype coaching sessions
  • Solved a tricky technical testability problem I had with one of my clients
  • Reviewed several of my articles
  • Invited me to review an article of his
  • Increased my personal learning syllabus to extend beyond the ideas in the ISTQB syllabus
  • Challenged me to explain my ideas which has ultimately made me better at explaining my testing


  • Numerous Skype coaching sessions
  • Numerous personal mentoring sessions
  • Made me aware of the importance of the words I use
  • Increased my personal learning syllabus to extend beyond the ideas in the ISTQB syllabus


The community has encouraged me to challenge ideas & the status quo. As an example, James & Michael invite you to challenge their ideas & opinions, not just readily accept them.

I’ve disagreed with several ideas from both James & Michael, some of which we’ve discussed at length, others I’ve dismissed (which arguably I could have challenged if other aspects of life weren’t more important at that time). It’s good not to have consensus & be comfortable with that.

This is just a 5 minute brain dump of how I came to be the person I am today. If you want to discuss further, please get in touch so we can chat properly, or reply to this post. I tend not to engage in drawn out twitter “conversations” as they are too painful & rarely productive.