Suggested reading

These are my top ten recommendations of books on quality management and software testing:

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

Alan Cooper (2004)
Que, ISBN 978-0672326141

This book should be required reading for everyone involved in software development. Alan Cooper himself says that this is the business case book for good design and not the how to book. If after reading this you aren’t convinced that letting the developers loose isn’t the way to produce quality, easy to use software, you never will be. This book introduces the idea of personas – the stand-ins for the real end users of the product. A powerful tool not just for gathering requirements and during the design stages, but also for developing test cases.

Mastering the Requirements Process

Suzanne Robertson, James Robertson (2006)
Addison Wesley, ISBN 978-0321419491

The Robertsons are the authors of the Volere Requirements Model. One of the most extensive templates for capturing all types of requirements that I know of. I, of course, love this book because there is a whole chapter devoted to making requirements testable. The authors call this the Fit Criteria.

Six Thinking Hats

Edward De Bono (1985, 1999)
Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 978-0140296662

De Bono’s thinking hats help your organise your thinking and separate emotions, information and creativity. Each has its own role to play in approaching new ideas or in problem solving. A technique that can be applied equally to requirements gathering and test case development.

Managing the Testing Process: Practical Tools and Techniques for Managing Hardware and Software Testing

Rex Black (2002)
John Wiley & Sons Inc., ISBN 978-0471223986

If you are looking for a book to get you up and running as a test manager this is it. This book covers areas of test management that others ignore – such as managing a test lab. I have a first edition copy that came with a CD containing templates for test case description and test tracking that I have used in a number of testing projects. These templates are now available from the companion web site.

Integrated Test Design and Automation: Using the TestFrame Method

Hans Buwalda, Dennis Janssen, Iris Pinkster (2001)
Addison Wesley, ISBN 978-0201737257

This is the book that describes the TestFrame method of test automation. This method separates the business logic of the test cases from the automation scripting, which allows the task to be split between people having the right skills for each part of the job. Using Action Words allows non-techies to write test cases that can be automated with no extra effort.

The Testing Practitioner

Erik van Veenendaal (2002)
UTN Publishers, Belgium, ISBN 978-9072194657

An interesting collection of papers written by well-known names in the testing world. No topic is covered extensively, but each gives a good overview of the subject and points to more information. A good revision aid for the ISEB Software Testing Practitioner Certificate.

Test Process Improvement

Tim Koomen, Martin Pol (1999)
ACM Press, ISBN 0-201-59624-5

If you are seriously looking to improve your test process, this is the book I recommend. Not only does it help you determine your current capabilities, it also provides a roadmap for improvement. The interdependencies between the various key areas are well identified in the improvement matrix, which prevents you from trying to put the cart before the horse. The authors also acknowledge the fact that testing is an integral part of the software development process and therefore dependant on a certain level of maturity there too.

Improving Software Quality: Insider’s Guide to TQM

Lowell Jay Arthur (1993)
John Wiley & Sons Inc., ISBN 978-0131436350

This book is not new but contains so much useful information and simple ideas between its pages that it is still a favourite and still on my list. There are certain to be things you can put into practise immediately and make a start to improving quality in your organisation.

CMMI: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement

Mary Beth Chrissis, Mike Konrad and Sandy Shrum (2006)
Addison Wesley, ISBN 978-0321279675

A readable book explaining the Capability Maturity Model that contains many useful hints and tips, and cross references each process area with others where dependencies exist. This book makes otherwise rather dry material easy to understand. It is a valuable reference resource for software development process improvement.

Death March

Edward Yourdon (1997)
Prentice-Hall PTR, ISBN 978-0471578048

Not so new, but Ed Yourdon’s book seems to become more relevant in the present economic climate. The idea of using triage in dying projects was the idea that took root in my mind.