Managing the Test People was written for managers, leads, and people who may soon find themselves in a technical leadership position. It focuses on some of the unique problems in the software quality assurance profession, yet the bulk of the book is applicable to any technical management job.
It provides practical advice for the novice and affirmation for the expert. It contains real world stories illustrating the concepts discussed in the text.
This book is written from a practitioner's viewpoint. The author has been in software management for over 20 years, working in a variety of companies, and has always been struck by the lack of practical, real world advice found only in general management books. Yes, all those methods should theoretically work, until you add in the politics of the environment, the technical work that must be done and, of course, those pesky people who seem intent on fouling up your plans.
Managing the Test People is real - it's about the real world where there are real problems and real people, and it provides viable solutions that can actually be implemented.
Review By: Paul Nicholson 06/27/2008
"Managing the Test People" by Judy McKay is just what you would hope for: a direct and no-nonsense book for people who are new to managing software QA teams. It's an informal, easy read--something you can get through in a week of short evenings.
The book covers the gamut of working as a manager in a QA organization: writing job descriptions, hiring and firing, being an effective manager, handing out raises and promotions, justifying your team to upper management, and more. While obviously written around testing and QA, most of the advice applies equally to other software disciplines and would be useful to new managers there as well.
It's refreshing to read a management book with concrete advice, such as:
Your manager wants you to bring solutions to him, not just problems (how many times have we all forgotten that one?)
After starting a new job you have about two weeks to make a good impression and a month to develop a staffing plan
A problem employee will consume 30 percent of your time
This book provides a broad survey of management so there’s not a huge amount of depth anywhere. It's practical, and doesn't bother going into management theories that to which other books are entirely devoted. It's also devoted 100 percent to management; don't expect to get any technical advice deeper than "bugs caught earlier are cheaper."
I highly recommend "Managing the Test People" to prospective and new managers in QA, and as a good refresher for experienced managers taking over new teams or changing companies. If you're like me, you'll recognize more than a few mistakes you've made over the years as a QA manager.