What is Context Driven Testing?

The software testing community loves a good fight and nothing illustrates that better than all of the words spilled over context-driven testing.

What is context driven testing?

Context driven testing advocates contend that “the value of any practice depends on its context.” Stated so simply, it seems impossible to disagree with.

Of course the value of your testing practices depend on the context.

You don’t load test a mobile app that runs  on the device completely independent of any web services because you can’t by definition have more than a load of one. Running separate load tests in this example is a pointless waste of time.

The context-driven testing school is best represented in the book Lessons Learned in Software Testing which served as the impetus for creating the context-driven school.

Why then is context driven testing controversial?

The key word is practice. When you start messing with practices, you start messing with best practices. That means you are messing with people’s ability to go about work without actually thinking about what they are doing and, even more heinous, is taking away a crutch from vendors who can point to best practices when saying how awesome their product is.