"Rex Black has done it again!...Critical Testing Processes is a book that all software testers will want to read from cover to cover and then retain for frequent reference." From the Foreword by Rick Craig, software test manager, author, lecturer, and consultant
In today's rapid development environment, software testing processes play an increasingly crucial role. Where agile methodologies address a company's need to get the product out fast, testing processes address the equally important need to get the product right.
In this new book, Rex Black examines the big picture and distills, from his own extensive experience, twelve testing processes that are critical to success. After each process is introduced, a delightfully written case study demonstrates its use in various organizational, operational, and technological contexts. Instead of cumbersome regulations, this book provides checklists-lightweight, flexible tools for implementing process-oriented testing, gathering metrics, and making incremental process changes. Specifically, he shows test professionals how to:
Handle recurrent tests efficiently and consistently
Develop a cohesive, cooperative team that sidesteps redundancies
Focus tests to maximize customer satisfaction and meet organizational goals
Build a reputation for reliability through the effective communication of test results
Because testing is a collaborative process, requiring the participation of staff throughout the organization, the author discusses interpersonal and cultural issues in depth. He also covers often-overlooked areas in planning and perfecting tests. Whatever your role in testing-from test engineering to managing hundreds of test engineers. Critical Testing Processes will offer valuable insights into what you do, why it's important, and how you can perform better.
Review By: Steve Splaine 04/19/2004This book is written for the test manager or project manager who oversees one or more testing efforts. The author has done a great job of taking his own personal experiences (good and bad) gleaned from years of "in the trenches" work, and threading them together into a single fictional story that he uses to illustrate his proven method of managing testing projects.
Part 1 (Chapters 1 to 7) talks about the stuff you need to do to plan for a testing effort such as convincing senior management that spending money on testing is a good Return On Investment (ROI), how to get a realistic ballpark estimate for how long the testing is likely to take, and who should get involved in the project, when.
Part 2 (Chapters 8 to 11) deals with preparing for test execution: selecting test strategies & techniques, putting a testing team together (and keeping it together), and determining the appropriate measure(s) of test coverage.
Parts 3 & 4 (Chapters 12 to 17) first focus on perhaps the most stressful phase of a testing project - test execution. When the "heat of battle" is most intense, it's useful to have examples, templates, and checklists that a test manager can draw upon to help him manage and report on the test execution in a controlled and credible manner. The book then wraps-up by discussing process improvement; what went well, and what could have been improved (no witch hunts please!).
In summary, I believe Rex has built a very comprehensive and detailed composite documentary on how he has defined and deployed the most critical processes needed to support a software testing effort.
Review By: Chris A. Grady 04/19/2004“Critical Testing Processes” by Rex Black delves into the high-level aspects that are (or should be) part of the Quality Assurance realm. Black handles the subject with expertise and illustrates concepts using potential real-life situations that all QA managers face at one time or another. He offers tips on how to grow and retain testing resources and how to successfully report critical bugs to company executives.
Black offers insight into the preparation and execution of a successful QA program by taking the reader from start to finish on a software project, from defining system specifications to creating bug reports to the final “report” on what went right and what went wrong during the development cycle. He also outlines clear “Checklists” or goals that can easily be incorporated into any QA project.
Black begins each chapter with key ideas relating to twelve testing concepts. The initial chapters introduce basic industry terms that are defined for the reader with a one- or two-sentence description, these terms can be found throughout the book and are readily cross-referenced with the provided glossary. The reader is then taken into a hypothetical project where the ideas discussed are fashioned into a more user-friendly discussion. Fictitious email excerpts and meeting discussions are used to elaborate on the preset ideas.
Black uses the remainder of the chapter to expand on the concepts in more of a micro-mode and uses his own ideas to enforce the importance of the testing concept that is being explained. Each chapter concludes with a brief synopsis of what has been discussed. The layout of the concepts are straightforward, Black has created a recipe book adaptable to any QA program.
A few books that I have read on this topic have spelled out the same concepts and ideas but in a more “institutional/learning” format. Black clearly lays out for the reader what he is going to discuss and why he will discuss it. I think the use of the checklists is key in understanding the processes being discussed. The checklists are general enough for any QA team to incorporate into its testing process.
The hypothetical project, by far the highlight of the text, allows the reader to readily apply and follow along with the objectives of the processes being discussed in a real-world format. The reader is taken from the initial stages of the project to the final outcome. It was like reading an industry novel of the testing stage’s successes and failures.
Black constantly cites other sources to further expound on his ideas. I would recommend this book to testers, test managers, and even company executives, as the ideas Black discusses affect everyone involved with a large testing project. As a tester, I have seen all aspects of the ideas discussed in the book, and it is nice to know others have gone through the same struggles. This text kept me entertained and informed and will provide a good reference for current and future QA projects.