May 5, 2014

How Google Tests Software by James Whittaker, Jason Arbon, Jeff Carollo (2012)

I read it in Russian translation

I really-really liked it. It's the most interesting book about software testing that I've ever read (considering the style of language and the amount of useful or enjoyable information).

It gives very good picture about what does it mean to be a good tester no matter where or in what conditions.

«A tester finds a bug and takes a moment or two to savor it. Seriously, this is important. Not only are we allowed to take a moment to enjoy the fruits of our labor, it’s important to understand subtle nuances of the bug and the circumstances of its appearance.» (James Whittaker)

The cover of Russian edition is brilliant: it shows fundamentals of Google quite precisely

Sometimes seemed that there is too much text about roles, hierarchs and responsibilities in Google. The idea about structure of workers is too detailed and takes a lot of space.

But the list of things that I liked is much longer:

  • short interviews with key people – you can find there interviews of google people with different roles and positions (which are connected to the testing) and with different experiences and opinions. Reading these interviews I had an idea that it would be interesting to read a book about unsuccessful projects and experiences in Google.
  • parts about interviewing candidates on different testing roles – very useful information which helps to understand who big company (not necessarily Google, but actually every normal company) wants to hire and what they are waiting from the good candidate.
  • Design Docs chapter – good chapter with nice suggestions such as grammar correctness: «sloppy work that does not bode well for the code they will write later. Don’t set a precedent for sloppiness.»
  • the idea that «Testers are there to make developers more productive» – actually my previous post All Participants Work For The Benefits Of The Project is about it (which was written just before reading this book).
  • the idea, that testing is privilege that can afford only big and important projects – «quality is not important until the software is important» (Alberto Savoia)

I agree with authors that this book is useful for experienced testers (not for juniors). It assumes that reader has already thought about some software quality problems and maybe even have found some solutions – only then you can do justice to Google's solutions.

«Quality has to be built in, not bolted on, and as such, quality is a developer task. Period. This brings us to fatal flaw number 1: Testers have become a crutch for developers.»

«The second fatal flaw is also related to developers and testers separated by organizational boundaries. Testers identify with their role and not their product.»

About other fatal flaws you can read in Google Docs: How Google Tests Software.

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