Saturday, March 4, 2017

Lessons learned in Software testing, book review

(Book review, no Hebrew - if the book review is too long for you, you won't read the actual book anyway)

So, after hearing here and there some recommendations about Lessons Learned in Software Testing by Cem Kaner, James Bach & Bret Pettichord, I decided to choose it as my next book to read.
At the foreword, Tim Lister (who's name I haven't heard before) compares the book to a bottle of good port, and asks the reader to consume the book in small doses, with care and thought and with friends. Pesonally, I'm not a very sophisticated drinker, but the advice was very similar to how I like to read a poetry book - which is pretty reasonable for a book that hold short, mostly independent, pieces of content. I even borrowed a habit I have with poetry books, and inserted a small piece of paper between the leafs to mark a section I liked.
My general reaction to the book, to put is very simply, is "meh".
Don't get me wrong, though - there's some nice stuff in this book, and even a page or to that will make for a nice smile or even a giggle (my personal favorite on this area is the lesson titled "Programmes are like tornadoes" which carries an important message with a title that creates a nice mental image). However, this book is probably a victim of its own success - this book was initially published in 2002, which is about ten years before my testing carrer began - for me, context driven testing has always been around, and the messages in this book are coming from just about anywhere around me. This means that I was nodding quite a bit while reading the book - either a "yes, sure" nod or a "I heard this already and don't agree with it".
Reading a professional book is quite a task for me - I don't read as fast in English as I do in Hebrew, and I do have other kinds of books competing for my reading-time. So when I read a professional book, I want more than a simple confirmation of what I know - I want to learn a new way of looking at things, or learn the base I need for a new skill I don't have. At the very least, I want to see an idea explained well. This book is not any of those for me - it is a collection of anecdotes that are nice to remember, but as a whole - there's nothing memorable (or memory-worth) in the experience of reading the book.
This book might be a better suite to people working a bit longer than me in the industry, or those who have experience solely in what some are calling "the factory school testing". It might be a good read for software testing students, but I have probably missed the train for this one.
Also, important to say - it seems that James Thomas have a different experience with this book.

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