Chapter 1. What Does It Mean to Be Pragmatic?

Let’s start at the beginning by exploring some obvious questions with some not-so-obvious and not-so-universally-accepted answers about pragmatic testing. From a pragmatic, or practical, standpoint, it involves being effective and efficient when testing software. What is effective software testing? What is efficient software testing? What is software testing, anyway? What is quality?

While these might seem like impractical, philosophical questions, in my experience, they are not. Your answers to these questions determine what you expect to do as a tester. Other people’s answers to these questions determine what they expect you to do as a tester. Having common expectations up, down, and across the organizational chart and throughout the project team is essential to success. Without such commonality, no matter what you do, someone’s sure to be disappointed. With common expectations, you can all strive for the same goals, and support others in their endeavors.

What Do Effective and Efficient Mean?

Webster’s dictionary defines the word effective as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired result; impressive.” So, to be an effective software tester, you must decide what results you desire from your testing efforts.

Likewise, Webster’s defines efficient as “productive of the desired effect; especially to be productive without waste.” So, to be an efficient tester, you must allocate resources (time and money) appropriately.

In the next few pages, ...

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