The Myths of Rigor

James Bach, Satisfice, Inc.

We hear that more rigor means good testing and, conversely, that less rigor means bad testing. Some managers-who've never studied testing, done testing, or even "seen" testing up close-insist that testing be rigorously planned in advance and fully documented, perhaps with tidy metrics thrown in to make it look more scientific. However, sometimes measurement, documentation, and planning don't help. In those cases, rigor may require us not to do them. As part of winning court cases, James Bach has done some of the most rigorous testing any tester will do in a career. James shows that rigor is at least as dangerous as it is useful and that we must apply care and judgment. He describes the struggle in our craft, not just over how rigorous our processes should be, but what kind of rigor matters and when rigor should be applied.

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