It’s difficult to find time to do some things, so I decided to try and get through the additional information provided with James Bach & Michael Bolton’s Rapid Software Testing course during my Christmas break; other activities permitting of course!
The material doesn’t really lend itself to being read as such. I found myself scanning, looking for items of interest and things that can be applied in the context of my current role; ideas, quotes, observations and heuristics that will help me become a better tester. I’ve listed some of the highlights below:
Evolving a Context-Driven Test Plan – “the real test plan is the set of ideas that actually guides your testing.” The material here helps to guide your thinking about all aspects of a test project by providing a set of pointers serving to remind or prompt consideration of important factors.
General Functionality and Stability Test Procedure – is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion. It’s actually a complete guide to Rapid [Exploratory] Software Testing by any other name. One of my key areas for development in 2012 will be applied exploratory testing, since it’s become clear to me that although I’m a reasonable tester I still have a lot to learn when it comes to using an end-to-end exploratory approach. This section was therefore extremely valuable.
Bug Fix Analysis – my bug reports are pretty good already (I figure I wouldn’t have progressed very far as a tester if they weren’t.) As with everything though, there’s room for improvement. The pointers here helped me to think about additional information that could be used to lend weight to my bug reports, particularly in disputed cases.
Example Exploratory Test Reports – very interesting to me, since I tend to struggle with what and how to record the outputs of my testing. I tend towards a traffic light checklist status (which to be fair, project managers seem to quite like.) My current approach requires that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in advance determining what tests I’m going to carry out however. Seeing examples of actual exploratory test output will help me reconsider my working style.
Notes from an Exploratory Testing Session [Michael Bolton] – very inspiring anytime, anywhere testing. Also, this section serves as a useful reminder that sketching the item(s) under test can help to drive further testing – modelling as a precursor. Noting your own state (“sleepy”) is also a useful exercise.
In addition to the above, James (and Michael?) have provided notes, plans, strategy and other artifacts from test projects that will be of interest to some, depending on the nature of their work. The bibliography will obviously serve as a useful guide for further reading too.
It took me about 4 hours to scan/read the entire document. Time well spent! I’d highly recommend it and, though clearly having completed the RST course will be beneficial, the associated slides and appendix stand as useful resources in their own right.