Day 1 Keynote

If It’s Not Context-Driven, You Can’t Do It Here

Michael Bolton, Develpsense
The context-driven approach embraces several paradoxes:

  • Could people working in some project reasonably decide that people aren’t the most important part of that project’s context?
  • Are there contexts in which a context-driven approach is a bad idea?
  • Can someone who is truly context-driven advocate for or impose context-driven thinking, or reject non-context-driven thinking? Might there actually be best practices?
  • Can people– who always bring elements of themselves to a project– be truly context-driven?
  • Doesn’t everyone adapt to context?

Members of the context-driven movement claim to argue strenuously in favor of considering all approaches, yet some of us are identified by others as rigid and dogmatic. Some suggest that our advocacy of context-driven approaches is like punk rock lyrics set to best practices music.

In this keynote, I’ll talk about some questions and paradoxes around context-driven thinking, and I’ll talk about valuable and problematic aspects of modeling testing around schools of thought.

Michael Bolton has been teaching software testing on five continents for ten years. He is the co-author (with senior author James Bach) of Rapid Software Testing, a course that presents a methodology and mindset for testing software expertly in uncertain conditions and under extreme time pressure. He has been Program Chair for the Toronto Association of System and Software Quality, Conference Chair (in 2008) for the Conference of the Association for Software Testing, and is a co-founder of the Toronto Workshops on Software Testing. He wrote a column in Better Software Magazine for four years, and sporadically produces his own newsletter. Michael lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and two children.  He can be reached at, or through his website,

Day 2 Keynote

New Cool Things

James Bach, Satisfice Inc.
This talk is about my perception of intriguing new ideas and developments in Context-Driven testing.
James Bach has been studying testing since May 21st, 1987. On that day, his first as a tester at Apple Computer, he asked “How do I know if my testing is any good?” He’s been looking for answers, and finding them, ever since. Author of Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar, a book about self-education, he co-pioneered exploratory testing, co-founded the Context-Driven School of Testing, co-founded the AST, co-wrote Lessons Learned in Software Testing, co-organized CAST, co-owns Satisfice, Inc., and he enjoys hot co-coa.