I like to read books on testing and around testing sphere and thought a reading list might be someway to find new books to read and gather any recommendations.
Currently I’m reading my way through Gerry Weinberg’s Quality Software Management (Vol. 1 Systems Thinking) and liking how it sets up for the wider view of testing and quality.
Anyone have any nice recommendations (I’ll add more later).
I can suggest reading Six thinking hats by Edward de-Bono, which isn’t directly about testing, but we’ve found it useful as you can read in our series of posts about it. We’ve also just posted a short, surprising, list of recommended books to read.
I once started this project, but it hasn’t gotten any love the past years.
I’m wondering if we can integrate the github repositories and visualize them clearly with voting functionality and all that good stuff.
Probably too much work to do it well though.
There is this https://github.com/nikitavoloboev/learn-anything, which I thought was a nice way to utilise both knowledge and mindmaps on a larger level.
We used the six hats for a few retros, even went as far as buying six different coloured hats off of eBay on the cheap, though some people found it too confusing initially and then refused to participate. It worked well for the others on the team though and was able to get some good actions and direction when in a particularly deep nadir. Will need to read the book though to figure out what went wrong.
I would recommend “Explore It!” by Elisabeth Hendrickson.
I found it interesting and useful.
I love Evil by Design which you could argue isn’t directly about testing but it’s given me some great testing ideas it’s also helped me argue against some design decisions during requirements gathering.
When I asked on slack about books for testing, Thinking Fast and Slow was also recommended to me. Again it’s more about how humans think so may not exactly be what you’re after.
+1 for “Explore It” on exploratory testing.
+1 for any Gerald Weinberg and especially for “Perfect Software… and other illusions”
“Agile Testing” & “More Agile Testing” by Crispin and Gregory, if that’s your fancy
"how to reduce the cost of software testing" is a great collection of insights. Albeit pricy
Can anyone recommend a book on test automation (not tools specific?
For the beginner I would recommend “Lessons learned in Software Testing” - Invaluable.
Similar to others “Explore It” is great for exploratory testing.
Is “Lessons learned in Software Testing” still recommended? It’s from 2002 so is it still up to date enough?
I’d say it’s worth a read. A lot of the core of software testing was written a long time ago by philosophers, anyway.
Can’t recommend Gojko Adzic’s books highly enough. Bridging the Communication Gap leads to Specification by Example. There’s also Impact Mapping but his most recent, Humans vs Computers is sad, funny, eye opening and informative all at the same time. My paperback copy only cost £9.99 and was well worth the money. I tend to top up my Amazon basket with a cheap testing/software book if I’m a little short of free delivery. Just received Sun Tzu and the Art of Software Testing 2012 for a couple of quid. Looking forward to finding out if it’s any good.
A great read for me is “How Google Tests Software” by James A. Whittaker. Google, while they may be iterating on this concept, outlined two very distinctive roles in the testing world and it helped me to really understand where I stood in the STLC.
They discuss the SET and the TE, both of which are pretty crucial to the life cycle of testing. The SET (Software Engineer in Test) is basically a developer that builds tooling, infrastructure and write automated tests. The TE (Test Engineer) is the product expert. They perform risk analysis, build test plans, write automated tests, perform manual tests and really put the processes in place for the team to succeed on the testing front.
Each of these are two very big roles and it’s hard for one engineer to be both. Typically, based on skill set and experience, an engineer would be one or the other. It’s a great read from the company that puts out huge products at the pace of a startup.
This book helped me realize that I was trying to be a TE when I am definitely an SET. I could communicate my skill set much better in the interview process and also help my team in ways I couldn’t even have imagined because my efforts were much more focused on my actual skill set rather than what the company believed a quality engineer to be.
While not directly about testing, “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman raises your awareness around biases. It gave me a new perspective on the use of Expected Results in testing. Specifically, I limit the use of expected results to allow a tester to concentrate on observing.
Some of the best testing books aren’t about testing. “Thinking Fast and Slow” is a book on psychology which teaches humility in testing, attention as a resource and variation of heuristics to increase test integrity. “Tacit and Explicit Knowledge” is about epistemology and one of the best books I’ve read on testing. “What is This Thing Called Science” is a book on the philosophy of science and taught me about epistemology and falsificationism which is vital for a healthy perspective on truth and how to be critical of claims in messy abstractions.
I’m going to suggest a couple of books that are primarily related to design and usability, but which include valuable lessons for testers and perhaps testing ideas too: Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think!” and “Rocket Surgery Made Easy”.
“Don’t Make Me Think” is particularly helpful for those involved in testing websites, and includes some great insights on some of the assumptions we can make about how people might use those websites. There are also examples of design which can help people and design which can hinder people.
“Rocket Surgery Made Easy” is more specifically about techniques which can be adopted in Usability testing sessions, but there are useful tips which I think apply more generally to testing.
Steve Krug’s books are funny, entertaining and full of wisdom. Highly recommended!
As I’m posting this, I might as well list some of the other books I keep on my desk at work, all of which help me from time to time. In no particular order:
- The Checklist Manifesto - Atul Gawande
- How Software is Built, Why Software Gets in Trouble, Perfect Software (and other illusions about testing) - all by Gerald Weinberg
- Creativity Inc - Ed Catmull
- Bridging the Communication Gap - Gojko Adzic
- Explore It! - Elisabeth Hendrickson
- Storytelling with Data - Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic
- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information - Edward Tufte
- The Field Guide to Human Centered Design - IDEO.org
- Lessons Learned in Software Testing - Kaner, Bach, Pettichord
and finally ‘Changing Times’ by some bloke called Rich Rogers