The Rapid Software Testing ebook (more like a collection of presentation slides and notes) is one of the many reasons why I admire James Bach and Michael Bolton, why I think they are among the best software testers in the world. They have thought deeply about the work that they do and have honestly wrote about what they found out about it. They know a lot about the software development process, how it unfolds, and how testers fit in and how valuable they can be. They are not afraid of disproving or challenging other people’s thinking and they do programming some of the time.
Anyway, here are some takeaways from their notes:
- There are always uncertainty, time pressure, and a degree of carelessness (even in the best of intentions) involved in software development projects.
- Testing is performance, not the documents we write about what we do. There is so much more to it than the artifacts that we produce, like acquiring competence and credibility and interest needed in creating conditions that help evaluate an application.
- Testers cannot control the quality of a product, but they accept responsibility for the quality of their work.
- Testers do not matter, meaning that we don’t make decisions about the quality of a product. We do however provide information about the product through our tests, and we share that to the team, and we let the managers decide about what to do next.
- Testing happens in our heads. To test is to learn. And what we learn are stories about several things: a) about the status of the product, b) about how we tested the product, c) about the value of our testing, and d) about the value of the stories we tell to our customers.
- Always ask yourself whether the problem you’re trying to test is a problem that matters. Because if it isn’t, why test it in the first place?