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Cem Kaner – My New BFF November 30, 2009

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.

Well… It may be a bit early to call him my BFF (Best Friend Forever) but we did have an actual conversation (sort of) on the Writing About Testing Socialtext site.  Here’s the deal.

When you are trying to gain expertise in a particular subject, my strategy includes figuring out “who’s who.” Who’s written books? Who are the most influential people? What specialty areas do they have? What can I learn from them? I’ve been making a list of Who’s Who in the world of Software QA.  It’s been on my To do list for quite some time to flesh it all out and do profile pieces on these people.  The first name that was on that list was Cem Kaner. Being one of the authors of the popular, Testing Computer Software, (and all kinds of other books about Software Test), I had him listed as #1 in my Who’s Who list.  He’s even in Wikipedia!

Cem Kaner was one of the co-founders of the popular AST (Association for Software Testing.) Sadly, I’m a penny-pinching unemployed person, so I don’t currently have a membership. But that’s OK, because I can still learn from him for free at: http://www.testingeducation.org

Check this out:

Black Box Testing Course: Project lead: Cem Kaner. Today, we publish lecture slides, sample exam questions, many worked examples, and background reading papers on testing and on the teaching of testing. We’re always extending these. In addition, we’ve started creating videotaped lectures and will soon start writing multiple-choice questions and other automatically-gradable questions that students can use to check their own knowledge. All these materials are available to students and teachers anywhere in the world, for free.

This is just one of many courses that are available from the site.

As I wrote in a previous blog entry, I inadvertently discovered that CiteULike had noted that my Masters Thesis was in Cem Kaner’s library.  I didn’t really believe this because 1) This thesis is only available as a hard copy from Regis University and 2) I thought it very unlikely that anyone, let alone Cem Kaner, would notice my thesis.  A much more plausible explanation was that the CiteULike entry was generated based on my citing Cem Kaner in the thesis.

I mentioned this anecdote on my Position Statement on the Writing About Testing Socialtext wiki, and, lo-and-behold, Cem Kaner, himself responded, with a three-paragraph explanation which included:

I never got to the point of discovering that you cited my work. My interest was that you were applying “action research” to software engineering. Participatory qualitative research is done so rarely in our field that I wanted to read more. So I marked this as a thesis I wanted to read (but haven’t yet gotten to). I see that a few other researchers have read your work and cited it favorably. I still hope to get to it.

Cem Kaner was engaging in a conversation with me! I hadn’t really planned on networking with the big-wigs until I could be more cerebral. Now was my chance to say something impressive and academic. Instead, I acted like a total teenage groupie telling him I was impressed that he not only noticed my thesis, but was actually commenting to me.  I might as well have said, “OMG! It’s Cem Kaner! Will you be my BFF?”

But that’s OK.  He noticed my very academic thesis and commented on my post.  You can be sure I’ll be talking about how “my buddy, Cem, and I go waay back..” on my next job interview!



1. Fergus Gallagher - December 1, 2009

“A much more plausible explanation was that the CiteULike entry was generated based on my citing Cem Kaner in the thesis.”

FWIW, we’re not clever enough to do that 🙂

yvettefrancino - December 1, 2009

Hello Fergus from CiteULike! If it weren’t for CiteULike, I never would have known that Cem Kaner was interested in my thesis…something that is very exciting for me! Thanks for the work you do and for finding my blog! 🙂

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