REVIEW - Lessons Learned in Software Testing - A Context-Driven Approach


Lessons Learned in Software Testing

A Context-Driven Approach


Cem Kaner, James Bach, Bret Pettichord



Wiley (2001)




Francis Glassborow


February 2002



This is a particularly difficult book to review because of the broad way that the authors interpret the subject. The book consists of 293 lessons divided over 11 chapters. The first of these chapters consists of 15 lessons under the heading of 'The Role of the Tester'. Most of these are short and many remind us of things that we should already know such as lesson 11 'You don't assure quality by testing'. In fact over half the lessons in this chapter are warnings about things you should avoid, such as lesson 14 'Beware of becoming a process improvement group.'

While most lessons throughout the book are short (well the book is under 300 pages) there are places where the authors feel the need to say more. The last item (lesson 273) in chapter 10 (Your Career in Software Testing) is a warning about the efforts to license software engineers. This is almost four pages long.

As programmers we tend to think of testing in fairly simple terms. We know it is important but often only pay lip-service to that knowledge. Anyway we all know how to do it so why involve outsiders in the process. Of course we are wrong, and testing is as much a specialist task as cutting code.

If testing is something that is going to be an important part of your career buy this book and read it carefully. It distils the experience of three very competent professionals in testing. In places they have strong opinions that they are not reluctant to state but even thoughtfully disagreeing with them will add to your competence. (Even testers deserve to be tested). If you are someone working on products that should be tested, reading this book will highlight to you what testers should be doing and put you in a better position to rebut attempts to exceed their competence. Of course managers should b e familiar with the contents of this book, because they need that to assess if the test rubrics in their department are appropriate.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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