Monday, 16 March 2009

Book Review - How We Test Software At Microsoft

I must confess that when I first came across the book "How We Test Software At Microsoft" I had a little snigger.
With Vista not exactly taking the world by storm, the usual raft of security patches being uploaded to my PC and then the Zune problem hitting the press, Microsoft were not exactly the Toyota of the software world and so a book with a title like this reminded me of the Ghandi quote when asked about Western Civilisation
"It would be a good idea "

That was just a lazy opinion though - anyone with an interest in tech should be wondering how one of the giants does what it does - and as a tester I should be finding out how things are done there ( if only so I could do things differently )

I found it to be an excellent book, lots of tales from the trenches, explanations of the problems MS faces, how they try to overcome them - all intermingled with general testing theory
For the full table of contents see here

The first part of the book gives a lot of background of Microsoft - sometimes a bit too rah-rah or maybe it's the reserved English in me that isn't too impressed with a CEO who gets his shirt all sweaty chanting "Developers, developers, developers"

Part II gets onto test techniques and although I thought I'd read most testing theory books written I still came across a few new bits - and the theory is interspersed with tales of it being used in practice.

Part III covers tools and systems and ranges from bug trackers to user feedback ( I think the Send A Smile program would have been better if it had been called Send A Frown ) to testing Software Plus Services.

Finally the book finishes with a look at the future and the test structure in place to try and lead MS there

The best compliment that I can pay the book is that I wrote a lot of Post-It notes whilst reading it and it has already led to a few blog posts and discussions on the Software Testing Club

The HWTSAM site allows you to send the authors feedback and questions

and photos of yourself reading it should you wish...

1 comment:

Marlena Compton said...

Despite all of the devs I work with laughing heartily when I showed up with this book for reasons you mention, I've been reading through it and finding it pretty informative.

You mention that you've read plenty of other testing books. What are the top 1 or 2 that you liked? I still consider myself in the "learning how to test" phase and have an interest in what others have read and found useful.