Tuesday, May 14, 2002
The reason I believe that the Craig and Jaskiel book will become the standard reference is based on:
- It not only proposes a preventive testing process (called STEP; Systematic Test and Evaluation Process), but is also aligned to IEEE standards for test documentation and uses IEEE terminology throughout. These accomplish three things: (1) it gives a test process that takes the entire life cycle into account and employs an approach that begins before a single line of code is written, (2) leverages established standards and shows how they can be successfully used in practice, and (3) uses established and standardized terminology.
- The STEP approach is based on risk management, which is missing other books on testing. The up front risk analysis in the test planning phase makes sense when you consider that testing is all about finding and removing defects, which represent risks to the software to be delivered. Finally, someone gets it right!
- The chapters on master and detailed test planning add clarity and consistency to these processes. If you've worked in more than one organization you'll understand the significance of this because it seems that no two organizations approach it the same way, and I have never seen an organization approach it in the logical manner in which it's outlined in this book.
- The same structure and consistency is applied to test implementation and execution - and the combined benefits will promote repeatability, which is a fundamental goal of testing.
- Forms, checklists and templates (unfortunately only in hard copy) that are provided are invaluable. If you tailor them to your own organization you'll have a ready-made set of testware that covers every facet of the QA process.
I also liked the chapters on test management (from a test manager's perspective) and improving the test process. If you are with an organization that is assessed against the CMM or are considering going in that direction, the brief piece on how to align the test process to the CMM is invaluable. If you are familiar with Test Process Improvement approach proposed by Koomen and Pol in Test Process Improvement: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Structured Testing, you'll especially like the way that this book cross references STEP to TPI.
Obviously I will have much more to say about this book as I read through it in detail, and after I have I'll post a comprehensive review here. However, I found the book to be so impressive and compelling on the first scan through that I wanted to get the word out that this is, indeed, a book that is essential if you're involved in software testing.
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