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Perfect Software: And Other Illusions about Testing

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0932633699
ISBN-10: 0932633692
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Editorial Reviews


Finally! A book about software testing written by someone who actually understands software testing. I consider Jerry to be the greatest living tester. Jerry tests everything. Jerry tests me. . . . Read this and get your head straight about testing. --James Bach, consulting software tester, author of Lessons Learned in Software Testing

This concise and cogent book -- a gift to testers -- explodes myths about what testing can and can't do. We'll each want at least two copies -- one for our own bookshelves, and another to hand to our clients so that they can better understand precisely how we can help them. --Michael Bolton, tester, trainer, and consultant, DevelopSense

About the Author

Internationally respected for his innovative thinking on both human and technical issues, Gerald M. Weinberg focuses on ways to help people improve their productivity. A highly influential author, lecturer, and consultant, he draws on experiences gained in all three roles, as well as from a long technical career as a software developer and researcher. Jerry has written on topics ranging from computer systems and programming to education and problem solving -- and most recently, on writing, itself, and fiction. He is the author of more than forty books.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House (August 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932633692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633699
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew R. Heusser on May 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you've been in testing long, you've probably heard the standard impossible questions:

"Why didn't you find that?"
"Why would we hire a human to test when we can automate our testing?"
"This NEEDS TO WORK. And we need it next week. Period"

If you drank the deep draught of testing, if you've struggled with it, wrestled with it, and gotten good at it, I have only one thing to say:

This probably ain't the book for you.

This book is for the people who are asking you the impossible questions.

Seriously. This is a nice evening read and will provide an executive, manger, or developer with enough information about testing to (A) understand some of the challenges of the role, (B) set appropriate expectations, and (C) communicate those expectations clearly.

In other words, it can be the difference between a sane life and an insane one - if only you can get the right people to read it.

Now, the style of the book is plain prose and folsky story - it's the kind of thing you can read in an comfortable evening, or perhaps, two. It doesn't have fancy metrics and graphs, but we all know what Mark Twain said about that.

So if you are a seasoned tester, this book might not be for you - it's for your boss, your bosses boss, the customer, the CEO, and The New Guy. I wanted to get my management team the book as a Christmas present, but somehow all those folks had read it before Christmas ... I suspect a co-worker.

Absolutely great for it's niche. Top Flight. Buy two copies to give away today!
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Format: Paperback
I know Jerry Weinberg. I like him, treasure his advice, and have read and liked many of his books. This is another of his books that I like.

Jerry writes around testing software. I say "around" instead of "about" because this book isn't about the technical aspects of testing software. I find it to be about the personal and thoughtful aspects of testing software. More importantly, it is about information - communicating, considering, and applying information.

This all starts with Jerry's definition of Testing a System:

a process of gathering information about it with the intent that the information could be used for some purpose.

Aha! Gathering information that we can use. I agree. I have often pleaded with people on projects to understand this about testing.

I don't know how often I have heard screams of, "The test failed! The test failed!"

No, the test didn't fail. We learned something from the test, so it was a success. Perhaps you were disappointed by what you learned from the test, but the test didn't fail.

This is why I love Weinberg's book about testing. Its contents will last beyond the current and next three generations of test tools and techniques. It cuts to the heart of testing in a timeless manner.

Simple, right? Wrong. The second half of the testing definition is about using the information, and people use the information. Now we come to a huge hurdle. "Information is power." Some people crave information, and many people fear it, even to the point of hiding it or lying about it.

Weinberg discusses the fear at length, how to spot the fear, and how to work with the people who are afraid.

Yes, I recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
A really useful book. Testing is the most misunderstood of software related activities. Even by software development professionals.

The book explains what we can expect from testing, what are the main challenges, and what is wrong with common practices and attitudes.

Short, well written (as always with Gerald Weinberg's books), easy to read, without technical details, this book is a good introduction to the realities of software testing, for every stakeholder of software projects and of software products.
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Format: Paperback
When I read this book, I had more than 10 years of experience in software development and testing, and I immensely benefited from studying this book. I highly recommend it to anyone, who is testing, or programming, or simply deals with software products (who doesn’t these days?) - and regardless from how long you’ve been in the industry.

Among many insights, Gerald Weinberg very intelligibly exposes thinking and responsibilities of people in different positions - programmer, tester, test manager, product owner, business manager. That gives a unique perspective outside of one’s own job experiences.

Yes, this awesome book is not quite about testing techniques and methodologies. And yet, if I had to recommend only one book for reading on software testing, I’d suggest this one: because it makes you understand the purposes, the roles, and the context. Many seasoned QA folks claim that they knew all of this already - and I'd reply: yes, intuitively. The book helps to get conscious about your knowledge.

For each aspect in testing, the author describes a lot of patterns how it might go wrong. As in the proverb: a smart person learns from their mistakes; a wise person learns from smart one's mistakes. The book grants this wisdom.
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