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Title: Managing the Testing Process


Review Date, May 2003
Author: Rex Black
Pub: Wiley
ISBN: 0-471-22398-0
Cover: soft
Pages 500
Keywords: testing, processes, Team management
Recommendation: recommended
Source: - Publisher



This is a brave title for a book. If there are any words that programmers run from they are “managing”, “testing” and “process”! Yet I would hope that all software engineers regard [properly organised] testing as an essential part of software development. Formal testing, and proof of testing, is becoming more relevant as software is now in far more areas of our lives: areas where people sue when things go wrong.


This book is aimed at the manager and team leader explaining, as the title suggests, how to manage the testing processes to get the test team to do the work. It highlights some of the mistakes that can be made. Some made by the author in previous projects where he had to dig himself out of a hole. This is a real world book not a set of academic lecture notes..


There are numerous diagrams some, I am sure, will find their way into your own in house presentations to managers and engineers. As this is “managing the process” it is orthogonal to most types of testing and does not look at specific tools or languages but stays generic. This is a plus point for me, as this book will survive changing fashions of languages and tools. That said it does look at the classical models, V and waterfall. Also the pros and cons of automated test tools with some interesting points.


For me the whole book is worth price just for the pages that show how to calculate the ROI (Return On Investment) for testing. It shows, in financial terms, that the time and money spent of testing is well spent and that not testing (properly) is a false economy. It shows you how to beat the company accountant at his own game


This book is as much anecdotal and team managing as methods and systems. The author has a lot of experience and enthusiasm for the subject making it his life’s main work. This can be seen by the author’s web site. This book is clearly a culmination of many real projects and technical papers presented around the world. Most of the papers are on free download on the author’s web site. You may ask why buy the book? For the same reason why people buy Red Hat Linux rather than downloading all the sources, all the information has bee distilled in to one volume that is easy to use. In fact I would say go to www.Rexblackconsulting.com, look at the papers and then buy the book from the author (it comes autographed). You will then have the slides to use when you need to do a presentation to convince the engineers or management.


I think that some parts are more applicable to the US reader than the European as employment practices and culture different. However most of it is generic and applicable to teams anywhere. I shall keep this book on the shelf as a reference and Rex Black’s URL is on my favourite’s list.