This book addresses all aspects of test management, from scope to release. The explanations and examples of the Failure Mode Effect Analysis were very easy to follow. The practical application and concepts in the chapter about test plans were equally easy to follow. The author includes many details of the IEEE 829 standard for test documentation as well as less formal methods. Included in this discussion were the practicalities of selling your plan to management. In fact, throughout the book the author successfully presents concepts, followed by formal and informal tools using the concepts, and anecdotal information to help you put your specific situation in context.
In the chapter discussing test system architecture, I found specific information about the IEEE 829 standard for test case documentation, and where it "fits in" on a scale from "pure exploratory" to "pure scripted." The author puts forth the concepts of Test Escapes and Defect Detection Percentage very clearly. I did have some difficulty following his concepts of test cycles (shotgunning, railroading, etc.). The chapter about bug tracking gives many practical examples of gathering and charting defect data, such as Open/Closed Date and charting the root cause of defects. There is good basic information about creating your own defect tracking database using MSAccess, and a good case study on build vs. buy.
The chapter on managing test cases was not as useful to me as some of the others. I had difficulty relating my situation to the DataRocket example. I did download the Test Case Tracking spreadsheet and modified it for my next test project. Testing dashboards are a new concept for me, so I really found his "Questioning Dashboards: Dissent and Disputes" helpful as I design my dashboard. Chapter 6 ties many of the concepts from earlier chapters together. It tells how defect metrics tie to test cases which tie to the quality risks. I found the description of the logistics database to be difficult to follow, even though I understood the goal.
The chapter on staffing and managing a testing team didn’t present much new information, but I liked the skills assessment spreadsheet. I have experienced the "us vs. them" environment and the lack of respect and credibility for testers. The author’s description of the lead and support time required for contractors was right on target. Testing in context presents what I consider the three most common software development lifecycle models—V, Spiral, and evolutionary—then goes on to discuss the cost of quality and leading the reader through software development phases and how the various types of testing relate to each of the phases.
I started out reading the book from beginning to end, then got assigned a critical test project with no extra time or energy to read. I started using the book as a reference, going to chapters for just-in-time information and inspiration! I used the analogy of the fishing net for explaining the reasons for Test Escapes (Low-fidelity test system = fish escaping through big holes in the net; Regression test gaps = fish swimming under a half deployed net) the very next day in my testing kick-off meeting! The combination of concepts, practical examples, and personal experiences makes this book very easy to read. The exercises at the end of each chapter (although I haven’t done them all), at a minimum, force you to think about how you would approach the problems given what you’ve just read. The templates available on the Web site are easy to use and understand. The author’s writing style is very easy to follow, and he reinforces concepts in various ways. I found this book to be immediately applicable to my everyday responsibilities. The book is relevant to project management, software quality engineering, and IT management. It touches on earned value, risk analysis and management, budgets, hiring, staff motivation, and organizational politics.