I think the problem with the ladder test is people expect too much of it. I usually load about 12-15 rounds for a ladder, more in a smaller capacity case where small changes in weight matter more. I shoot every shot over a reliable Chrono and CALL every shot. I use the chrono data, the target and how close the shots are to my call together to decide on a node. Usually I see more than one and I go for the fastest of course
I also shoot the ladder at the maximum distance I feel I can with that rifle and be confident that there was near zero shooter related error in the test. For a factory rifle I would say try 250 or 300 yards.
If I can not make heads or tails out of the target or I know I was not shooting up to par that day then I will even throw the target out of the mix. Given the choice of one or the other I would look solely at the chrono data and pick a node to start with. If the Chrono data is wild and all over the place i dont waste time with that combination anymore and I switch powders.
When I have a node I will shoot 2 3 shot groups in .1gr incriments (charge weights a little wider than the node in the ladder) in sequence so as not to bias the test with barrel heat or fouling. Then I pick the best 2 agregates and play with seating depth until I am satisfied both are at their very best.
Take those two loads and if they are close in accuracy back out on a calm day and shoot for groups at 500 yards or so. The winner there is my load.
That was a long way of saying I like the ladder but all it does to me is get you somewhere in the ballpark, I don't expect it to give me a final load.