Guest post from James Bach

One of the things that I (Andy) don’t feel like I conveyed well in this blog is some of the conflict that came out in our discussions. I think my failure in this regard stemmed from two pieces — the conflict aversion I described a few posts back, and the fact that this was a group of passionate people. As conflicts became apparent, passions rose, and it became harder and harder to keep up with the discussion at the level I needed to remain a participant and succinctly summarize each person’s viewpoint and the tenets of their arguments.

James read my Wrap-up post and felt that I inadequately portrayed the conflict we had this morning specifically. I reworded part of the post to remove the obvious place where it could be interpreted that we were all in agreement on everything. I also invited James to write up a guest blog post about his feelings on the matter. Here’s what he sent:

It’s very important to understand that we in this Agile Fusion
conference did not come to agreement on *any* specifically phrased idea
about what agile testing is or isn’t. We attempted to discuss it, but it
quickly became apparent that there are important philosophical and
terminological differences among us. Brian finally made the point, and I
strongly agree, that it’s the experience of this conference, this week,
that matters. We have experienced things. We have become exposed to new
ideas and skills. There was indeed a lot of friendly cooperation as we
worked on code together– and that is enough for now.

I think that the exploratory testing we did during this conference might
be misunderstood and misapplied, in the future, by people who attended
this conference. But I’m not really worried about that. At least they
experienced some of what ET is all about, instead of merely seeing a
synopsis on the web. I’m much more worried that someone will read our
pronouncements about ET and get the wrong idea. What may not come
through in those pronouncements listed in Andy’s blog is that we are
speaking from a position of lightness, openness, and a spirit of
learning. We are not trying to construct the next Capability Maturity
Model or ISO standard.

I learned enough about test-first programming and refactoring, during
this conference, to know that I have significantly more to learn before
I consider myself reasonably competent. I considered myself a reasonably
competent programmer prior to this week, but now my standards are
higher. I hope that the programmers who came here this week now have a
similar impression about skilled testing, especially skilled exploratory
testing. There’s a lot to it, and we just scratched the surface of the