"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Testing Experience Magazine : The voice of ISTQB

I agree you need money to run a business but then...

If you are subscribed to Testing Experience - The magazine for professional testers, you would have got an e-mail recently ( a day or two before this post ) announcing first year anniversary of the magazine. I am subscribed to them from their third issue and in an year they have grown to about 350,000 subscribers ( as per their own website claim )

I congratulated Jose Diaz for running the magazine and for completing one year with it, and offered my respect to him for doing it. I also wrote in the same e-mail to him that I see the magazine becoming too much of ISTQB stuff to which he seemed to disagree with me. I am surprised with that.

I decided to investigate if I could be wrong and presented my findings to Jose over an e-mail:
( modified the construct for your reading and not the content)


Here is my experience of going through Testing Experience magazine
  • When I open the website www.testingexperience.com I am forced to look at a pop up ad for ISTQB. Only after closing that I am allowed to browse through the pages. [ As on May 29, 2009 2300 IST ] Do you see anything different?
  • Let's look into the latest issue : Security testing: Page: 2 : The opening ad of Testing Experience is ISTQB. It kind of puts in my mind the thing that Testing Experience means ISTQB.
  • Page 3: Jose Diaz has personally covered ISTQB in letter from Editor section and he says, "Last but not least, I want you to pay attention to our new e-learning portal www.testingexperience.learntesting.com . You can register for ISTQB Foundation Level and very soon for Advanced Level. Enjoy Learning". When the chief says pay attention to something it indicates to me that Testing Experience is supporting ISTQB because they are feeding Testing Experience with enough money to do that.
  • Page 6: Yet another ad of ISTQB in German language or something similar to that. Hey look, before I even get to read the first article in a magazine, I am asked to cross 4-5 instances of ISTQB.
  • Page 13: Another instance of ISTQB half page attractive ad
  • Page 21: ISTQB again
  • Page 24: Erik Van Veenendaal writes about ISTQB and wooing people to go for it. Here is an excerpt from that article: "The ISTQB Advanced Level scheme offers a complete 5-day module on technical testing which may seem irrelevant to testers today, but I'm convinced will become more and more important to the near future or even already today".
  • Page 27: Interview with Mike Smith: Yet another ISTQB masala flavor in the form of LearnTesting. 3 pages full of that. As though - Learn Testing means only about learning ISTQB way of testing.
  • Page 30: Yet another ad for Learn Testing who in turn promotes ISTQB and run by Testing Experience.
  • Page36: An article from Rex Black, a popular founder and face of ISTQB. To his credit, he doesn't talk about ISTQB.
  • In what way is his article on page 66 to 70 that talks about Advanced Software Test Design Techniques is related to Security theme of the magazine? Do we have so less people on Security Testing that we'd have to compensate it by a non security article.
  • At least aren't there any other brilliant ISTQB certified testers who can write good articles on Security Testing or maybe even the Advanced Test Case Design Techniques?
  • Page 52 & 53 has the ISTQB and information such as "We are the community with 1,10,000 people. Are you on the right side?". Its a Shame. Rex Black speaks against the idea of Schools of Testing but has ads asking testers, Are you on the right side? with a link to ISTQB below it. What is the message?
  • Page 58: ISTQB in France
  • Page 70: Another article from Rex Black
  • Page 78: RBCS & ISTQB
  • Page 99: There is ISTQB, yet again and a full fledged article on it for 2 pages.
  • Page 103: Is yet another mention about ISTQB being there and being here for those who didn't know it will soon be everywhere .
  • Oh and Page 104 also ends with ISTQB training and other details. ( There are only 104 pages of this magazine )
  • Compare their first edition of magazine and there on, you would see ISTQB increasing with every edition. I wouldn't be surprised that the future editions is only about ISTQB and I see the future in their latest edition.

Testing is Questioning

Where is all the money that many testers across the globe paying to ISTQB certification and training going? Asks Michael Bolton on James Bach's Blog


Is the magazine becoming an official mouth piece of ISTQB or there is so much of bias that it makes me think so?

Whose money is all this? Your money. You didnt know you can make someone as rich as you wanted to be?

I think anyone who is running a business can cling to a brand to build their own brand but not to an extent that the other brand swallows it. If that is the mission, I think Testing Experience is headed on the right track.

I don't know who is in the review board and I suspect that it might not be diversified and have only ISTQB promoters.


What do you think?
  • So, you reader of this post - What is your opinion? After seeing all this would you think the magazine is neutral or is serving the purpose of promoting ISTQB?
  • Should magazines like these that claim to be for Professional Testers be promoting one kind of stuff or be helpful to the community in allowing different kinds of people to mix with?

Test Republic is a social community for software testers and a not for profit service by Mohan Panguluri, COO, Edista Testing Institute. You can witness that by visiting it. It has events of ISTQB posted in the past, it has CAST conference details and QAI conferences. It has a blend of all kinds of thought process in software testing and arguments. They allow all kinds of information to be posted from all kind of communities and schools. They keep aside their business and do this for benefiting the community. Another example is STC by Rosie Sherry. I think there is lots to learn from people like Mohan Panguluri and Rosie Sherry, for the rest of the world who also claims to be doing it for Professional testers.


The philosophy

Jose seemed to be OK with my above response of facts about ISTQB in Testing Experience's latest issue but wasn't comfortable after I mentioned to him that I plan to blog about it. He cited that his lawyers might have a look into my blog if I do so.

So they might be reading this post along with you. If I question ISTQB, the dynasty of ISTQB will hire lawyers to see if I can be attacked for questioning them?

How cheap? Software Testing is such a nascent field, we haven't even crossed 50 years and already someone is saying "The best practice and right ways of testing" and "we control the field and there is no room for disagreement".

Kudos ISTQB certified testers. You are sinking the field you are working on without knowing you are doing it. Fantastic, go ahead get certified!

17 comments:

Joe Grossberg said...

If Jose, Testing Experience and ISTQB are on solid footing, then they can withstand criticism.

If they're not, well ... time to call in the lawyers!

For what it's worth, what you've done is absolutely an example of "fair use".

Michael Kelly said...

Well done.

Henrik Emilsson said...

Good work Pradeep!

I cannot see how you could be sued for questioning the message that this "magazine" puts out.
I do hope that readers of this magazine understand that it is a voice of ISTQB and that they ignore it...

Often, editors of magazines try to obfuscate who their sponsors are so that it doesn't become so obvious that they really are sponsors. That way the message is somewhat less obvious but still affects the content of the magazine and the mind of the readers.
This happens because the editors are ashamed (or afraid of showing) that they need sponsors to exist, and thereby risk to lose their confidence by printing material from the sponsors.

I still think that many of these non-objective magazines are worthless; but you got to give them credit for trying to hide it. Which does not seem to be the case with the "testing experience" magazine... :-)

Unknown said...

@Joe Grossberg,

For what it's worth, what you've done is absolutely an example of "fair use".I am glad you too see it as fair use. If I was Jose, I would have loved this feedback and might have thanked for free help to provide a better magazine in future.

Unknown said...

@Henrik,

I do hope that readers of this magazine understand that it is a voice of ISTQB and that they ignore it...You might have observed that they call it as a magazine for professional testers and put in plenty of ISTQB stuff there to make some people think as though those who aren't ISTQuBed aren't professional testers.

I still think that many of these non-objective magazines are worthless; but you got to give them credit for trying to hide it. Which does not seem to be the case with the "testing experience" magazine... :-)Precisely!


@Mike Kelly,

Thanks pal.

Henrik Emilsson said...

I do hope that readers of this magazine understand that it is a voice of ISTQB and that they ignore it...What I really meant was that they should ignore the magazine!
After reading my post I realized that "ignore it" could be interpreted as ignoring the "voice/message"... :-)

Darren Ryan said...

I just made a post on James Bach Blog who was blogging about this blog.
I made a comment there based on my experience in Australia. I have to say that because it seems that other countries are being bombarded and harassed by the ISTQB. This leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
We should all promote learning more about our field but we perhaps need to show people there is more to testing then ISTQB rather then continually posting the negatives about ISTQB.

Knorrium said...

Not only do they fill the magazines with ISTQB ads, but they also have just sent a spam mail about the ISTQB training for half the price. So they are also filling our inboxes.

FK

Unknown said...

@Darren Ryan,

We should all promote learning more about our field but we perhaps need to show people there is more to testing then ISTQB rather then continually posting the negatives about ISTQB.

Absolutely. I think that is what we are doing and in meanwhile constantly re-iterating the point that ISTQB is spoiling the community.

As we re-iterate this point, it might be of help to wanna be testers that they start as testers with far better ideas about testing than ISTQB.

We dont want many people to feel guilty that they fell into ISTQB trap.

Note that James, Michael or I who strongly oppose these certifications are going around helping testers on testing skills in whatever level we can.

Rapid Software Testing is about you ( the tester ) than the process and slavery you need to abide by.

Unknown said...

@Knorrium,

Not only do they fill the magazines with ISTQB ads, but they also have just sent a spam mail about the ISTQB training for half the price. So they are also filling our inboxes.


Yes, I received that. I think it is a strong message from Testing Experience to all of us that they would continue to be adamant to ISTQB as they have more money than us irrespective of negative value they add to the community.

We will fight and there will be an Armageddon where they will perish.

Jitendra Kapoor said...

I have a diverse combined experience (of 14-15 years) as in software development, computer hardware, and then of course in software testing. Other than this I also have exposure to various domains which somehow compensate software testing.

All this has supported me a lot in my current endeavours and approach in testing and has deepened my vision, I think it has also helpmed me understand testing to the aspect where I can relate very well with you Pradeep.

Moreover, this has been the reason I have not attempted ever to give a 'skill-enhancing' online ISTQB examination to get 'ISTQB certified". I guess I have right understanding and have likeminded colleagues here.

Unknown said...

@Jitendra Kapoor,

The first comment from an Indian reader for this post. I was worried if all other testers who usually comment on my blog fear to speak against the ISTQB dynasty but you showed the way.

Moreover, this has been the reason I have not attempted ever to give a 'skill-enhancing' online ISTQB examination to get 'ISTQB certified". I guess I have right understanding and have likeminded colleagues here.

ISTQB ain't any little skill enhancement. They claim to be knowledge enhancing and some say "this is ok kind of knowledge compared to no knowledge" but knowledge does not need a certificate.

I hope you would consider not using skill with ISTQB. They are antonyms.

Anonymous said...

Pradeep.

Good one. I agree Testing experience has a lot of ISTQB related stuff due to Jose belong to the group.

You mentioned that Testrepublic is a neutral platform. I would disagree with that part of the argument. Test republic is clearly a a ETI , QAI platform in guise. We can see that from the amount of promotion for ETI courses , the Context driven RST propaganda on TestRepublic. Of course everyone does this for some or the other business benefit and not for charity and i hope u of all people will agree with that

Jayapradeep

Unknown said...

@Jayapradeep,

Test republic is clearly a a ETI , QAI platform in guise. We can see that from the amount of promotion for ETI courses , the Context driven RST propaganda on TestRepublic.

Here are some ideas that you might want to consider thinking about:

1. In Testing Experience Magazine, Jose or his team has the control of what is being public and no one else has the authority to change it.

2. However, in Test Republic you might notice that even you can add your course or class there and no one is going to stop you.

3.If they were biased why would they have promoted Test 2008 conference which although I know is not ISTQB conference but most people there were pro ISTQB?

4. The events you are referring to is something similar to that of events in LinkedIN where anyone can post any event they want.

5. By being one of the moderator, have you seen any CSTE posts going unchallenged by me? and did they delete that?

Shows democracy to me.

Where did the context driven thing and RST propoganda come into picture there?

Oh yeah, about the CAST conference well feel free to post any testing conference you might do. Simple. And if you post your conference and your events there and someone writes to me saying, "Ah! Pradeep, Test Republic is biased to Jayapradeep as we don't see other individuals posting their events there", what do you expect me to reply?


Of course everyone does this for some or the other business benefit and not for charity and i hope u of all people will agree with that

If you read this post, I said, "I understand you need money to run business but..." and I didn't mind ISTQB ads in the earlier editions of the magazine.

Test Republic is a not for profit venture. You can post anything you want. Just because others are not posting it - wouldn't it be unwise to say it is biased?

You seem to be confused between an open forum ( where anyone can post anything for free and it will be moderated to ensure there is a value for everyone ) and a testing magazine ( where the editor decides what goes into it based on the money )

Charity is a charred word in business.

+ Thanks for dropping in and commenting.

Savita Munde said...

Great Pradeep :-)
For curiousity i downloaded the magzine. It was really sad to see the magzine is containing 70%ISTQB promotion. I simply deleted that magzine from pc. I wish they would put that efforts in something really good :-)

Savita

Lalitkumar Bhamare said...

Hi Pradeep,

Very well accept your thoughts and support them too. But what I have experienced so far is, most of the organizations ask freshers to got for ISTQB certification not only for foundation level but for advance levels too.

We honestly accept that there is still much more in learning side of software testing than what is there under ISTQB. But we must convey the same message and let most of the people realize the same fact.

As per my personal experience there art still 'n' number of testers who are far away from having their own opinion about certifications. They just do it cause their organization/managers ask them to go for ISTQB and why they (managers etc category ppl) ask is still unanswered question for me. May be most of the testers are blindly following the trend. And there are a few testers compared to the huge count of our software testing community who actually bother themselves to read/find out what Pradeep has written or what Michael Bolton is saying over software testing .

I will blame it on the lack of awareness within testing community itself ( I intend to mention those who are still sleeping) who still think that Standard of Software Testing = ISTQB and Software Testing Certification is also = ISTQB.

Thanks for writing this wonderful blog. This will definitely serve as an eye opener for the biggg testing crowd.

Regards,
Lalit
for "Tea time with Testers"

Marco said...

Very interesting observations.

I have found most (if not all) of the Software Testing online magazines to be a platform for sales pitches.

The basic riff in all articles is
1) We had a complex problem
2) We paid company X for a tool, training, process or solution
3) The problem was solved.

All the online magazines are hype and not even worth the cost of downloading.

I would like to hear more about learning from failure, more challenging of ambit claims and more discussion.

It is very cheap to put together and distribute a flashy, professional online magazine and a queue of companies to offering content in the form of 'infomercials'.

My advice is to ignore them completely. No one who is serious about testing is paying any attention to them anyway