Paul Gerrard's blog

The higher the quality, the less effective we are at testing

Its been interesting to me to watch over the last 10 or maybe 15 years the debate over whether exploratory or scripted testing is more effective. There's no doubt that one can explore more of a product in the time it takes for someone to follow a script. But then again - how much time exploratory testers lose spent bumbling around lost, aimlessly going over the same ground many times, hitting dead ends (because they have little or no domain or product knowledge to start with). Compare that with a tester who has lived with the product requirements as they have evolved over time.

The Value and Significance of Tests

At Eurostar 2010 in Copenhagen, the organisers asked me to do a brief video blog, and I was pleased to oblige. I had presented a track talk on test axioms in the morning and I had mentioned a couple of ideas in the talk. these were the "quantum theory of testing" and "testing relativity".

The video goes into a little more detail.

Evolution of tools for Requirements and Behavior Driven Development

Some time ago, Tim Cuthbertson blogged "how I Replaced Cucumber With 65 Lines of Python." I recently commented on the post and I've expanded on those comments a little here.

I share Tim's frustrations with Cucumber. I think the reuse aspect of the step definitions has some value, but that value is limited. I've heard of several sites having literally thousands of feature files and step definitions and no way to manage them systematically. A bit of a nightmare perhaps.

Services with SaaS: Our Journey

The nice folk at Aspire Systems asked me to contribute a talk to a webinar they are running on November 15. The webinar presents things to think about in migrating to SaaS. My contribution describes our journey from being a testing services company to offering services (and not just testing) through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. We didn't start off as an ISV of course, but we encountered many of the challenges facing ISVs.

(Quiet) Launch of Maelscrum and Business Story Manager

I've been very quiet on the blog front for some time. Here's the reason why...

Last week we launched TWO new tools offered as Software as a Service (SaaS). You can see details of Maelscrum here: and Business Story Manager here: (The paint on these websites is still wet - we're building video tutorials for the tools right now.)

Testing and Finance 2012 - Call for Papers Ends 30 September

Good news! The European Testing and Finance conference is coming to London on 16-17 May 2012. It has run very successfully in Germany since 2005 and the organisers, Diaz & Hilterscheid, are promoting this to be a pan-European event and basing it in London. The website is

We are delighted to say we have been asked to Programme Chair the conference and we are looking forward to creating a fantastic event with Jose Diaz and his team.

Changing perceptions of exploratory testing

It seems to me that, to date, perceptions of exploration in communities that don't practice it have always been that it is appropriate only for document- and planning-free contexts. It's not been helped by the emphasis that is placed on these contexts by the folk who practice and advocate exploration. Needless to say, the certification schemes have made the same assumption and promote the same misconception.