April 5, 2009

Book: Implementing Automated Software Testing

The newest addition to my QA Bookshelf.

by Elfriede Dustin, Thom Garrett, Bernie Gauf

Implementing Automated Software Testing is a systematic examination of the why and how of large scale automation of big, complex systems.

I. What Is Automated Software Testing and Why Should We Automate?
Chapter 1: What is Automated Software Testing (AST)
Chapter 2: Why Automate?
Chapter 3: The Business Case
Chapter 4: Why Automated Software Testing Fails and Pitfalls to Avoid
II. How to Automate: Top Six Keys for Automation Payoff
Chapter 5: Key 1: Know Your Requirements
Chapter 6: Key 2: Develop the Automated Test Strategy
Chapter 7: Key 3: Test the Automated Softwre Test Framework (ASTF)
Chapter 8: Key 4: Continuously Track Progress — And Adjust Accordingly
Chapter 9: Key 5: Implement AST Processes
Chapter 10: Key 6: Put the Right People on the Project — Know the Skill Sets Required
Appendix A: Process Checklist
Appendix B: AST applied to various testing types
Appendix C: The Right Tool for the Job
Appendix D: Case Study: An Automated Testing Framework (ASTF) Example
While the back cover says "Whether you're a test professional, QA specialist, project manager, or developer, this book can help you bring unprecendented efficiency to testing - and then use AST to improve your entire developement lifecycle", I'm not sure this book is for everyone. 

New QAers or testers, those involved with testing smaller-scale systems, or those involved in projects with smaller budgets and shorter timelines might find the book's recommendations overwhelming.  It seems clear to me that this book is best for those who are charged with determining a test automation approach for very large scale, long-term systems, with large budgets, such as those used by the Department of Defense and larger commercial efforts. 

From the Preface:
"We at IDT have identified a boilerplate solution, strategies, and idea, all provided in this book, that can help increase the chances of your automated testing success."
I agree.  All of the authors and all of the contributing authors are IDT employees.  This is IDT's boilerplate solution.  As with all boilerplate solutions, it may not fit your specific situation.

If it does, you will find a wealth of information.  And even if it doesn't you can still find useful nuggets of information about how some of these "big-project" teams automate their tests.  For example, I particularly liked Chapter 4 - Why Automated Software Testing Fails and Pitfalls to Avoid.  I believe this chapter would be useful for anyone about to embark on a test automation project.