Progress Report: A Principles Based Test Framework

Th4     Start Time : 09:45     End Time : 10:30

In 2007 the UK’s financial services regulator issued guidelines on what it described as “Principles based regulation”, the culmination of a move away from a regime dominated by prescriptive rules.

In 2009 Simon Sinek presented a TED talk, in which he described how many successful leaders drive change through clarity of purpose and a simple principle: “start with why”.

For several years, Iain struggled with the challenges of building and developing test teams on anything larger than a single project. Whilst he met with success applying context driven testing within individual teams, he encountered greater challenges establishing and sustaining it across projects and contexts. The essential challenge: how to effect change, when that change depends on individual testers taking accountability for their testing, when the desired outcome is rendered unattainable by attempting command-and-control approaches?

Inspired by the above, Iain decided to try something a different: a framework that puts the purpose of testing first, that enables testers to make choices about how to test within their own contexts, and provides them with a set of principles to help guide their choices.

This is a story of an ongoing experiment in scaling context-driven testing, of alternatives to testing standards.

Most of all, it is a story of empowerment and respect.

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  • Speaker


    Iain McCowatt - Director, , United Kingdom

    Iain McCowatt is a software tester whose experience and passion for testing spans multiple industries and more than a decade. During this time he has been a hands on tester, test manager and occasional automator. He specializes in getting stuff done in difficult environments, and in helping organizations solve complex testing problems on large enterprise IT projects. In his spare time, Iain blogs at