Top positive review
Test Is Dead - And This Is Why
Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2013
I saw James Whittaker speak at STAR West in 2011, and he gave a keynote titled "Test Is Dead". His talk was essentially a teaser for How Google Tests Software that he co-wrote with Jason Arbon and Jeff Carollo. The premise of the book is that testers need to have engineering skills (sometimes to an equal extent as software engineers) in order for the testing discipline to reach first class citizenship on equal footing with development.
The argument is aligns well with the movement toward agile software development methods. The book goes on to breakdown testing responsibilities for software engineers (SWEs), software engineers in a test role (SETs), and Test Engineers (TEs). Almost half of the book deals with the roles and responsibilities of the TE, and in the Google model, they do have a higher-level role in testing. In essence, it breaks down like this:
* SWEs write unit tests for the software they write
* SETs write tools to enable testing without external dependencies and write automated functional tests
* TEs coordinate the overall testing activities for a product and focus on the user by doing exploratory testing
In addition, the book also outlines a number of tools (many of which have been open-sourced) that Google uses for testing in the context of these roles. The majority of the content focuses on web applications (it's Google after all), and some of the ideas won't apply if the majority of your development is for internal customers to your company - since you probably have user training and rules about frequency of release. However, I would say that you could apply 80% of the ideas in any context and probably adapt at least 10% (if not more) of the others to your situation.
Also, there is also a chapter on test managers and directors that has interviews with a number of prominent Googlers. Then, the book ends with a discussion on the future of the SET and TE roles at Google along with some of the errors Google made.
Google embarked on the transformation in 2007, and my company is currently trying to do something similar. I hope to be able to leverage these ideas in the months ahead. I recommend it to anyone who is or expects to be involved in such a change. I would also recommend it to any tester in an agile development shop. You may not agree with everything in the book, but tells of the future (if not the present) for much of the software testing industry.