Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
I've highlighted my take-aways from the "World Class Testing" section of Managing the Design Factory by Donald G. Reinertsen. It's an insightful book whether you're optimizing your product line or designing a new product. It's packed with empirical punch, counter-intuition, and practical techniques for re-shaping your engineering results.
Viewing Testing as an Asset
Ways to Optimize Testing
What I like about this particular book, is that it doesn't prescribe a one-size fits all. Instead, you get a pick list of options and strategies, depending on what you're trying to optimize. It's effectively a choose-your-own-adventure book for product developers.
This sounds like some details behind a lesson I learned as a young Army Officer years ago.
A plan is meaningless without a mission. (i.e. from grid 12345678, at 0500 tomorrow, move NNW for 5 kilometers in a defensive posture, Squad A will flank to the right and move another 2 kilometers while Squad B takes up a defensive position, blah, blah, blah...)
Not particularly useful, right?
Now add a mission. (i.e. Secure hilltop 42 NLT 0545 tomorrow)
Ok, now I have a clue, but what if something goes wrong and I fail to secure the hilltop, or I'm late?
That is where lesson two comes in. Missions and Plans are only useful until something goes wrong... then you need the "Commander's Intent". (i.e. Secure hilltop 42 NLT 0545 tomorrow to ensure safe passage of the supply convoy over the bridge found there.)
Ah-Ha! Now I know that even if I secure the hilltop, the broader mission could still fail if, say, the bridge has been destroyed. If the bridge is gone, I now know that this is a problem I should report. Without the "Commander's Intent" I'd have never known that there was supposed to be a bridge in the first place!
Such a simple concept... So rarely applied... So sad.
President & Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.
Executive Director, Association for Software Testing
"If you can see it in your mind...
you will find it in your life."
J.D. Meier of patterns & practices fame has an interesting post on testing based on a book he recently