An engaging and practical book with lessons for us all,
This review is from: How We Test Software at Microsoft (PRO-best Practices) (Paperback)
It would be easy to be cynical about a book by Microsoft on testing software, but that would be a great mistake; this book describes convincingly how a large organisation improved the testing of its software, by changes to the organisational attitudes, responsibilities, and skills. It is also a valuable handbook of practical techniques and tools, described by people who actually use them in their real work. As testing continues to improve at Microsoft, cynicism becomes not simply inappropriate but also ostrich like - I can think of other organisations who need to learn the same lessons...
The book is divided into four main parts. The first sets the scene with the background of software engineering and software testing in Microsoft, describing the change in culture and attitude bringing the idea of a test engineer as opposed to a tester. This part is useful is you want to understand Microsoft's structure for testing, and perhaps to draw lessons for your own organisation's structure. The second part describes HOW TO test, looking at test case design techniques and the analysis of risk. Part 3 focuses on the management of the testing via tools and systems, but also includes a chapter on non-functional testing, which for me would sit more happily in section 2. The final part of the book discusses the future for testing at Microsoft.
My suggestion is that if you are doing testing or managing testing, start by reading part 2 and part 3 of the book. You will get some good insights into useful techniques and tools which you can apply to your own work, to help in designing, executing and controlling your testing, as well as in obtaining and using customer feedback. These chapters cover a wide range of techniques with good examples.
I found part 1 and part 4 less convincing on first read, but on returning to them after enjoying parts 2 and 3 realised that I was being somewhat British and reserved; the exuberance and enthusiasm that the authors display for their company and their work is genuine, heartfelt and deserved, as well as reflecting the culture of the company.
I recommend this book thoroughly; it will be a useful addition not just to your book shelf but to your work desk. It will help testers, test managers, developers and analysts to understand and apply improved test methods in their daily work.