Friday, February 05, 2010

Book Review - Managing the Testing Process, 3rd Ed. – Rex Black

Managing the Testing Process, 3rd. Ed. by Rex Black

Published by Wiley, 2009, 638 pages

In the third edition, Rex extends a work he started in 1998 with the first edition. At that time, and still today, practical books on software test management are in a minority of the books on software testing. This book has become a commonly referenced work on software test management for a reason - it is practical.

Two things I really like about this book are that it is very readable and it has broad coverage of test management topics. As a trainer of thousands of test managers, I have learned that many test managers are thrust into the role with little knowledge or preparation. So, my perspective is that test managers need to know the mechanics of the software test profession as well as the managerial and leadership aspects of the job. This book delivers well on both counts.

By reading and applying the information in this book, you will learn the testing process from test planning and building the test architecture to building a test team, measuring test results, and conveying those results in a value-added way. Rex covers topics that are very relevant including test outsourcing and the context of projects and software lifecycles. I also very much appreciate the discussion of dealing with the people issues in testing.

Just a note on the use of spreadsheets and vendor non-specific tool examples is that once you understand the structure of organizing testware, you can apply that structure in a specific test tool. Plus, not everyone owns a commercial test management tool. I know many people who manage a lot of test items using Excel.

I can highly recommend this book to test managers and leaders, as well as people who aspire to be in those roles.

Randy Rice

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