Cultural Fit

Think Different

Cultural Fit

I note a recent spate of articles advising employers to “recruit for cultural fit”. And the inevitable backlash against that advice. Like most advice, this simple soundbite conceals a whole can of worms.

Where Are We At?

If we’re happy with our current “culture”, then by all means hire for “cultural fit”. We will likely hire new people that look the same, act the same and think the same as those folks already in the organisation. And thereby reinforce our existing culture and status quo. Which, if we’re happy with it, is what we want, right?

But if we ponder for a moment and conclude that our current “culture” is more of a hindrance than a help, we might want to look to a future in which the culture is different from how it is now. Maybe, markedly different.

“Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture…

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My visit to Let’s Test 2015 – Day 3

Test Pappy

Waking up a bit early to pack my stuff and check out before breakfast. I am a bit tired, but I guess I also got used to it.

Fun moment of the morning was to receive the newsletter from Testing Circus about the May issue, featuring the guy I spend the three past evenings with playing board and card games. Erik Davis! Great job, Erik!

I had breakfast and a chat with Emma and Dan Ashby. So far I only had the chance to shake hands with Dan.

Jean-Paul Varwijk “ISO 29119”

The last day went by way too fast. I decided to visit Jean-Pauls session on ISO29119, which was a good choice. It was not only good talk, but also a great discussion afterwards. I already knew a big bite before that talk, but I got also a good portion of new information lighting the spirit to fight…

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My visit to Let’s Test 2015 – Day 2

Test Pappy

My second morning under the Swedish sun went better and my alarm woke me up. At the breakfast table I was joined by some new and tired faces and had good chats with them. Again I got some info about sessions I missed the day before.

After breakfast I had a short but inspiring chat with Michael Bolton.

Guy Mason’s “Utilizing Automation Tools in a CDT environment”

The morning session I chose was “Utilizing Automation Tools in a CDT environment” with Guy Mason. A very interesting session, because it described the idea that Richard Bradshaw propagates about “automation in testing”, but coming from a bit different angle. Since this is a topic that I currently try to establish at work, I was all the more interested in this discussion, if all arguments and approaches I found so far, were confirmed and needed a new look on them. Guy’s message was to use automation…

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My visit to Let’s Test 2015 – Day 1

Test Pappy

Welcome to the second part of my visit to Let’s Test 2015. You can find the arrival day here.

The bright Swedish sun woke me up around 0530 for the first time, and I panicked, because I thought I missed the alarm going off. AfterI checked the time I realized that I need to get used to Swedish “nights” quickly. With a sunrise before 5 am the early mornings are really bright and the curtains are not that useful at all.

At breakfast I finally met Dan Billing and had time for a chat with him. This guy has a lot of knowledge around security testing and more. And he is also one of the facilitators of Weekend Testing Europe. I also met Chris for the first time. Not my last encounter with this really nice Swiss fellow.
A fun moment at the table was meeting Nicola and…

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Cynefin, testing & auditing

James Christie's Blog

Over the last few weeks following my CAST 2014 talk in New York, while the Stop 29119 campaign has been raging, I have been thinking more about some of the underlying issues.

One of these has been the idea of “best practice”, which led me back to the Cynefin Framework. If you don’t know about Cynefin then I strongly recommend that you learn about it and reflect on its implications. The article is a good start, not least because Dave Snowden, Cynefin’s creator, keeps an eye on it. This short presented by Snowden is also helpful.

An overview of the Cynefin Framework


I have carelessly described the Cynefin Framework as being a quadrant in the past, but that was sloppy. It isn’t. It merely looks like one. It is a collection of five domains that are distinct and clearly defined in principle, but which blur into one another in practice.

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“Software testers balk at ISO 29119 standards proposal” – my interview

James Christie's Blog

This is the full text of the email interview I gave to , which appeared on August 25th. They used only part of it, which was fine by me. I was delighted they approached me and was happy to get any part of my message out.

What don’t you like about ISO 29119? Will this “standard” have much impact anyway?

ISO 29119 puts too much emphasis on process and documentation, rather than the real testing. Of course that is not its purpose, or the intention of the people who have developed it. However, I have seen in practice how people react when they are dealing with a messy, complex problem, and there are detailed, prescriptive standards and processes on hand. They focus on complying with the standard, and lose sight of the real goal. This sort of goal displacement is a familiar problem in many situations. It is frustrating that…

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“ISO 29119: Why it is Dangerous to the Software Testing Community” (from uTest)

James Christie's Blog

This article orginally appeared on the appeared on September 2nd.

Two weeks ago, I gave a talk at CAST 2014 (the conference of the Association for Software Testing) in New York, titled “Standards: Promoting quality or restricting competition?”

It was mainly about the new ISO 29119 software testing standard (according to ISO, “an internationally agreed set of standards for software testing that can be used within any software development life cycle or organization”), though I also wove in arguments about ISTQB certification.

My argument was based on an economic analysis of how ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) has gone about developing and promoting the standard. ISO’s behavior is consistent with the economic concept of rent seeking. This is where factions use power and influence to acquire wealth by taking it from others — rigging the market — rather than by creating new wealth.

I argued that ISO has not…

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