Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Review – How Google Tests Software

How Google Tests SoftwareBy James A. Whittaker, Jason Arbon, Jeff Carollo
Published Mar 23, 2012 by Addison-Wesley Professional.
Copyright 2012, Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4", Pages: 320
Edition: 1st
ISBN-10: 0-321-80302-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-321-80302-3

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The main question you may be asking is “Why do I care how Google tests software if I’m not a start-up or a development company?” Great question!

While your situation will likely not be the same as Google’s, there is a lot to be learned in how they do things in development and testing. That’s because they seem to have the secret formula in getting features to market quickly and with good quality.

Not only did this book give me ideas about how to make testing software more productive, it can give anyone a perspective of software testing not found anyplace else. Most other books address testing from the perspective of “Here’s how testing should be performed.” This book comes from the angle of “Here’s how we do testing.” There is a big difference.

It is tempting to skip the preface and introduction when reading a book. However, these provide critical context and a good summation of what you can expect to take away from the book.

You will see several perspectives of testing at Google:

First, there is the historical perspective of how Google matured both as a company and test organization.

Second, you will read how James Whittaker, an already accomplished and notable testing guru, joined Google and had to do innovative things of value to carry his weight there.

Third, you will read perspectives by the co-authors and their interviews with developers, testers and managers at Google about their roles and responsibilities.

Finally, the authors outline in complete detail both how Google tests, and why they do things they way they do. Some key takeaways for me were:

·      Using tours as a basis for exploratory testing,
·      The concept of writing a 10-minute test plan,
·      The value of crowdsourcing for testing,
·      Getting maximum value from early testing from test engineers who are developers at their core (People always want to get better testing earlier in projects. This book explains how to do that!),
·      Seeing Google's testing framework in action.

I can highly recommend this book to people who are looking for new ideas to revamp testing processes and organizations.

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