Rapid Software Testing for Managers

written by James Bach and Michael Bolton

  • Are you a new test manager?
  • Are you an experienced test manager, being pressured to make testing faster and less expensive?
  • Are you finding that traditional, “best-practice” approaches to testing are making testing slower and more expensive than your clients demand?
  • Are you being asked to manage a test group for an organization that’s moving to Scrum or other Agile methodologies?
  • Are you a project manager with responsibility for managing or directing an offshore outsource testing group?
  • Are you managing an offshore or outsource testing group, and trying to provide the best value for your clients?
  • Are you struggling with measuring and managing the performance of your test team?
  • Are you finding it difficult to report the status of testing on your project?
  • Are you having trouble setting the right balance between planning, documentation, and testing?
  • Are you trying to figure out how to recruit, select, or train a skilled and diversified test team?
  • Do you want to get very good at managing the software testing effort?

Rapid Software Testing for Managers is designed to help you solve these problems. Based on the Rapid Software Testing course and methodology, and on the practices developed by James Bach, Dr. Cem Kaner, and Michael Bolton, this class answers key questions about how to staff, plan, and run testing projects more quickly, less expensively, and entirely accountably.
The skills presented in this class are applicable in any kind of test project, from agile to traditional, but will be especially valuable in those projects where time and resources are scarce.

How Is This Course Different?

Rapid Software Testing for Managers is a one-day class, available for individuals or small groups, in which we will explore test management, your organization’s context and how to respond to it. We’ll do the work through experiential exercises, puzzles, and scenarios, along with short presentations, conversation, and some actual testing and reporting. The goal of the course is to teach you how to respond with the management action appropriate to your context while recognizing the near-universal situation: testing is almost always done under extreme time pressure and conditions of uncertainty.
While the target audience for this course is primarily test managers and test leads, we welcome peers of test managers such as development managers and project or program managers, and higher managers interested in testing.

What Will I Learn?

Whether you’re experienced or new to test management, we’ll explore the challenges of the role and how to work around them:

  • How to plan and prepare a test project when product information is incomplete or unreliable
  • How to estimate and negotiate for the resources you need
  • How to design and defend a rapid, risk-based test strategy
  • How to plan incrementally and apply exploratory testing approaches
  • How to establish a productive relationship with programmers
  • How to be an effective advocate for testability, testing, and quality
  • How to supervise testers and be accountable for their work
  • How to create a diversified team and guide its members toward building skill
  • How to report project status to indicate progress and prompt the right questions

Rapid Testing Basics

  • Project realities that necessitate rapid testing
  • The rapid testing mindset

Key Challenges in Rapid Test Management

  • Coaching: developing rapid testers
  • Testability: The central concern of test management.
  • Estimation: how to deal with an understandable request to predict the future.
  • Developer Relations: how to integrate testing with development

Other Topics we Might Cover as Time and Interest Permit

  • Accountability: how an exploratory approach is accountable
  • Repeatability: nine reasons to repeat, one big reason not to repeat
  • Documentation: concise documentation is more rapid
  • Status: using a dashboard
  • Staffing: recruiting and developing rapid testers
  • Automation: an agile and diversified approach
  • Metrics: the value of inquiry metrics; the dangers of control metrics
  • Enoughness: how you know when you’ve done enough testing and have enough quality
  • Outsourcing: how to work in environments where you are offering or obtaining outsourced testing services