Quality cannot be tested into software, it must be designed in and built in. Understanding and accepting this simple principle can be the first step to preventing serious system defects from reaching users.
Projects that routinely rely on the system test team to uncover major implementation mistakes are bound to fail. The system test phase occurs too late in the life cycle to make major improvements to the overall quality of the product. Projects striving for high quality and rapid time to market need to adopt an attitude that it is unacceptable for software that does not meet requirements to even reach the system test phase.
Instituting this attitude requires agreement on roles and responsibilities throughout the entire project team. System Testing with an Attitude explains how to cultivate productive relationships between developers and system testers and stresses the importance of identifying and delineating the responsibilities of each group, which can prevent problems in the system before system testing even begins.
However, changing attitudes and allocating responsibilities is only part of the formula for system testing success. The system test team needs a technical and procedural framework to achieve excellence in performing its allocated responsibilities. The book provides system testing solutions that will help you:
set the right priorities for system testing (which simultaneously clarifies the role of developer testing)
understand the users of your software
build well-documented, repeatable, data-dimensional system tests that cover typical business flows
reduce test-execution costs through the use of automated test tools
manage the end game of the software development process effectively
institute a comprehensive measurement program that keeps progress visible and accountability clear
Testers, managers, and developers who are ready to improve their software development process should read this book.
Review By: Meredith Morrow 07/08/2010This book is divided into two major sections. The first section concentrates on defining and exploring system testing, including concentration on the V-Model and a definition of practical testing. The second section deals with providing the best testing possible given the requirements constraints defined by the user. These subjects might be found in most books about system testing, but what sets this book apart is evident within the first chapter, which is a “Test on System Testing” with questions that revolve around the reader’s attitude toward system testing. The author’s recognition that there are different starting points regarding system testing is refreshing, and I was quite surprised to learn my predisposition to this level of testing.
The first section outlines why the attitudes of both the testing and user camps can hinder successful testing. Section two provides the reader with information, or “solutions,” to ensure that both camps don’t keep themselves mired in the incorrect thinking and thus deliver a system not adequately tested for the user’s needs. The gold in section two is found in section B, with its nine chapters focusing on how test teams can influence the behavior of the project. If you have any experience in testing, you know this is by far one of the harder areas in which to affect change.
Overall I believe this to be a “must have” book for anyone seriously involved in system testing or part of a system testing team. The first section of the book provides information to a reader--especially valuable if this is the reader’s first book on the subject matter. The “Test on System Testing” recognizes the reader’s ideas (and sometimes misconceptions) about this level of testing. I was most impressed with section two, which provides solutions.
The book is very readable and makes a great effort to connect with readers personally in order to teach as much as possible about making system test efforts successful. When I first read the title, I was amused to think, “Every system tester has an attitude.” The author wasn’t referencing a belligerent attitude that testers who climb the high mountain daily might project, but rather the positive attitude testers must adopt in order to educate project team members on what system testing provides to the system under test.
This book is especially good for test team management, although its practical advice can be read and used by all team members. Petschenik provides solid answers and the means to positively influence the end product by using system testing as a springboard.
This book provides practical, usable advice on how test teams can affect change in the quality of the delivered product, without feeling like they are banging their heads against the proverbial wall. A “must read” book for those who manage system testing and a “better read” for the rest of us.In the past couple of years, I have noticed that the test teams I have been responsible for have been asked to do more and more things that are technically "out of their scope." There are always excuses as to why we have to "step up to the plate,” but there is discouragement in the ranks as the team is being asked to “test-in quality.”
System Testing With an Attitude deals specifically with system testing and is a change from other software testing books, which try to squeeze all levels of test into one book. The author, Nathan Patschenik, breaks system testing down into twenty-eight chapters with a sole purpose in mind--to convince those of us in testing that the purpose of system testing is “not to test-in quality”--and then has a surprise in store for chapter twenty-nine. I will not reveal the surprise, as that would not be fair to the author.
I believe Patschenik has reached his goal by going through a systematic approach of breaking down exactly what a system test team should be doing. Each chapter addresses a different aspect of the team’s responsibilities, as evidenced by chapter titles such as “A Test on System Testing,” “Is the System Tester’s Role to Help Developers Complete Their Testing?” and “Game Plan For a System Test.”
I can choose which chapters are relevant to the situations I am in and share the information with my teams. This will help to develop stronger teams, especially since we have moved to a new environment--WebSphere.
Mr. Petschenik’s writing style is down-to-earth and quite refreshing. There are no ten-dollar words, and he speaks from practical experience. He uses a lot of personal examples and even gives the reader an opportunity to walk through a few exercises to grasp the concepts discussed.
Mr. Petschenik has provided a book with timely subject matter and organized it well. Team members don’t need a dictionary to understand what he is saying. System test teams relate to what he says because they are going through the same experiences.
Now that I have read “System Testing With an Attitude,” I have the ammunition I need to fight back. I now have the ability to present the argument, with teeth I was lacking before. With the “secret chapter” at the end of the book, I now have the ability to make it a win-win situation for all concerned. I recommend that this book be on your shelf.