Thirty years ago, Glenford Myers published the first edition of The Art of Software Testing. Then, many testers use techniques that directly derive from Myers’ work. Here are a few trends and innovations in software test that James Bach is excited about, who recently addressed the question in his keynote at CAST 2011 in Seattle, titled “New Cool Things.”
1. Collapse of the factory
Bach claimed that the classic test approaches do not scale beyond a project team of 12 members. Projects were failing in the 1990s and only gained a temporary reprieve by outsourcing – large teams spent so much time maintaining automation that they had little time to test for new features and new uses of the software. Projects run in this way would fail in increasing numbers, Bach said, therefore, making the factory collapse even as more organizations pile on resources, time and money.
2. Politics in software testing
The nest trend James Bach mentioned was oplitics in software testing, starting with a new ISO standard, which could lead to a law that all testing conform to the standard, and all testers would be required to obtain a government license in order to test.
3. The “intersubjectivity” revolution
This approach keeps human beings in mind and focuses on communication of aspects that are hard to measure. Instead of counting test cases and failures, James suggests that testers give a score, from zero to “three plus,” of the testers confidence on the software.
4. Learning testing
The major innovation in teaching is the use of testing as a learning experience, that one learns testing by doing it, struggling with challenges and thinking instead of memorizing definitions on a screen. Additionally, James suggested that “Test Framing” is increasingly important as a skill, a skill that encompasses the ability to track tests backwards, to explain why a test is performed, what risks it addresses, why the technique was appropriate and how it reduces risk.
5. Test coaching methods
James said, “It’s so easy for a consultant in Europe to write down a maturity model, but it is a whole other thing to trace that idea back to an actual case study, a real situation that is closely analyzed. That takes work.” Moreover, he argued that new methodologies must be tested, that methods should be tried as an experiment.
6. Rapid testing management, tools and books
Bach suggested new heuristics, or rules of thumb, are evolving to explain testing in terms of higher-level abstractions. Even regulated testing is starting to accept rapid approaches. And Bach also suggested five books that list ideas for software testers: Tacit and Explict Knowledge, Dialogue, Skill and Tacit Knowledge, The Shape of Actions, Seeing like a State, and How to Read Wittgenstein. Then Bach discussed cool new tools, including Shmuel Gershon’s Rapid Reporter, Mind Mapping Tools, collaboration tools like Type With Me, using GotoMeeting for collaboration, PDF ReMangler to simplify documentation, or the new free performance test tool Cloud Test Lite.