image Today I am pleased to announce the release of the beta2 of the first volume of our Acceptance Test Engineering Guide. We are getting closer to “done”.

As it became apparent that the primary reader personas for each part in the original guide (that was released as beta1) were different  and the size of the guide was approaching 800 pages, we decided to split it into 3 volumes. It allows us to ship Volume I sooner while finishing Volume II and III. Incremental delivery for the win!

Based on the first round of reviews, Volume I has undergone some serious rewriting (especially, the Gating model, which is now called the Acceptance Process Model) and the entire new chapters were added (Part II – Perspectives on Acceptance).

Here’s the current structure of the guide:

Volume I provides an overview of the acceptance process and how acceptance testing and other key practices fit into the process. This volume is intended to be read from beginning to end. It is subdivided into three main parts:

    • Part I – Thinking about Acceptance explains six mental models that are useful when thinking about the acceptance process.
      • Chapter 1 The Acceptance Process
      • Chapter 2 Decision-Making Model
      • Chapter 3 Project Context Model
      • Chapter 4 System Requirements Model
      • Chapter 5 Risk Model
      • Chapter 6 Doneness Model
    • Part II – Perspectives on Acceptance describes the acceptance process from the perspectives of key stakeholders in two different kinds of organizations: the Information Technology Department in a business and the Product Development Company. Most readers involved in the acceptance process should find some commonality with at least one of the roles describes.
      • Chapter 7 Business Lead’s Perspective
      • Chapter 8 Product Manager’s Perspective
      • Chapter 9 Test Manager’s Perspective
      • Chapter 10 Development Manager’s Perspective
      • Chapter 11 User Experience Specialist’s Perspective
      • Chapter 12 Operations Manager’s Perspective
      • Chapter 13 Solution Architect’s Perspective
      • Chapter 14 Enterprise Architect’s Perspective
      • Chapter 15 Legal Perspective
    • Part III – Accepting Software introduces the practices that are necessary for planning the acceptance process, for performing acceptance testing and for improving the acceptance process.
      • Chapter 16 Planning for Acceptance
      • Chapter 17 Assessing Software
      • Chapter 18 Managing the Acceptance Process
      • Chapter 19 Streamlining the Acceptance Process

Volume II is a collection of what we call thumbnails that describe the practices introduced in Volume I in more detail. A thumbnail is a short overview of a practice that explains what it is, when you may want to use it, the risks that it mitigates, and an overview of how to perform the practice. Thumbnails also include a list of references to papers, books, and other resources that provide more complete descriptions of the practices in question. The main purpose of a thumbnail is to describe a topic well enough to provide an overview, serve as a mental reminder for someone who has used the practice on how to do it, and give someone unfamiliar with the practice enough information about the practice and its applicability to determine if they want to learn more about it. Some of these topics and practices have entire books written about them that describe the concepts in greater detail and depth than this guide could possibly do. Volume II is intended to be used as a reference; most readers will not read it from beginning to end.

Volume III. This volume is a collection of sample artifacts generated by applying different practices in a fictional but realistic situation for the fictional company Global Bank. These artifacts are embedded in a series of case studies of what the Global Bank team may have produced while building the application. The case studies provide some context to the individual artifacts. They also provide cross-references to the practices described in Volume II. The artifacts are intended to be used as way to learn more about how to perform a practice; they can also be used as templates for your own artifacts.

As always, we look forward to your feedback! Feel free to submit it through the Codeplex site (Issue Tracker or Discussion Forum) or simply email it to me.