Tag Archives: Michael Bolton

Seeing the Wood For the Trees

I’ve recently been reading through my ISEB Practitioner notes, which I got when attending a course organised by Grove Consultants a few years back.

Don’t switch off yet. I know I mentioned ISEB. So before I go further, it’s worth stating my thoughts on the whole ISEB/ISTQB debate. I summed up my frustrations in a previous blog post; the fact that in the UK having ISTQB certification is practically the only way to get past the recruiters gate, but I also feel that there is some merit to the courses if taught properly, and followed up with a context driven approach such as Rapid Software Testing.

Reading back through my notes from Grove I can now see that this is what they were trying to work towards. At the time I had no idea how important the context driven school of testing was, nor the work of James Bach, Michael Bolton, Cem Kaner and others. But looking in the notes, the names are there. The techniques, albeit in nowhere near the detail that James or Michael teach in class of course, were hinted at and some approaches, particularly Exploratory Testing, are mentioned in some detail. Some slides are directly referenced from James and Michael’s work.

Unfortunately, due to the need to pass the exam, and with these areas being marked as ‘not exam’ then I didn’t pay them the attention that they warranted, and so it took a few more years to discover how and why the context driven approach can be so powerful. Which maybe shows the true problem with ISEB/ ISTQB certification after all.

More Experiences of Rapid Test Management

If you remember from the last post, I recently attended Rapid Test Management, taught by Michael Bolton in London. For a general overview and what happened in the first day then take a look at the previous post. As before, the following caveat applies:

Caveat – this is not a list of exactly what happens in a Rapid Test Management class, nor is it a list of exercises and course material. You won’t become good at Rapid Test Management by reading this post. Sometimes I forget things. If you really want to know about Rapid Test Management then you need to sign up for the class. It will be money well spent and this post will tell you a little about what might happen if you do take the class.

We started day two talking about test strategy and how one might incorporate Rapid Software Testing into a test strategy. The Heuristic Test Strategy model was introduced and we studied this in some detail, and followed it up with an exercise to define a strategy for a smartphone. I was happy with the choice of product under test, given my background then it made it easier to take into account my domain knowledge, and so our group could come up with a large number of options to consider. Equally interesting was what other groups had come up with and it was very interesting to see how each group had approached the problem differently and come up with different solutions. This goes to show that diversity in teams and experience is very important in testing.

Back on day 1 we had produced a list of areas that we, as a group, wanted the class to be focused upon and the major areas that so far had not been covered were risk and test coverage. As usual, Michael had some great experiences to share and course material to cover the risk areas and the details of risk based testing. In fact, the amount of class material was another one of the great things about this class – you get a lot, far more than you can look at or can be taught in the class itself. Together with some useful testing tools and also some more exercises and demo’s, this gives a great set of material to use afterwards. Continual learning is important and so to gain access to all the notes, examples and slides is just the start.

Day 2 was concluded with a look at test coverage and ways to visualise test coverage. Rapid Software Testing provides you with some great ways to do this, from the simple to the more complex. It got me thinking about how I might incorporate this into the Kanban project management processes that my own team use to manage our work.

So, should you sign-up for the class? You bet’cha. Rapid Test Management is a class that you should attend. If you want it to, and you take the time to study all the information and material that you receive, then it will make you a better tester and it will make you a better test manager. I’m on the way; I’m just beginning to take on-board all I’ve learnt and to read through the material we didn’t cover in class, but with everything I read I’m confident that it’s improving my skills.

Rapid Software Testing

If you have a chance today then I would recommend reading this article on Rapid Software Testing. It’s an interview with Michael Bolton and gives a great overview of the approach and methodolgy.

I’m signed up for James Bach’s only UK course in March to learn much more about Rapid Software Testing. I cannot wait.


If you want to sign-up for the course too then you really should. It’s organised by The Ministry of Testing, the new offshoot from Software Testing Club. A 3-day, hands-on class on March 7 – 9th 2012 in Cambridge, UK. Hope to see you there.