Customer Review

May 28, 2010
My professional background had been as a Software Engineer and Manager in application development; however, I recently became the Manager for my company's automation and performance testing team. I wanted to get a good overview of implementing automated testing, and this looked like the best of the books available for my purpose. I considered the author's previous book Automated Software Testing, but it was written in 1999. I wanted something that would talk about more current tools available so this 2009 offering seemed to better suit my needs.

Like most technology books, this book is written in a very organized manner. The first four chapters are a good overview of the what and why of automated testing along with information about developing a business case and common myths. The section on the business case is fairly involved on how to compute ROI for automated testing. You may be able to get by with something simpler than this, but it's a good starting point. The remaining six chapters give more details for executing an automated software testing effort from requirements and tools to processes and staffing guidelines. I found the chapters on automated software testing process and staffing guidelines the most helpful. The process recommendations are lightweight, but I agree with the authors that testing automation *is* software development.

The authors write from a perspective of a defense contractor, and this is important to understand. In this environment projects are typically standalone and large in nature, but this will not be the case for all readers. I work in the IT department of a for profit company, and my automated software testing team operates in a shared service model to support the highest priority projects. Whereas a defense contractor typically buys hardware, software, tools, etc. for each program as a part of their bid, my team uses a consistent development stack and reuses a consistent hardware environment. We may add tools or hardware as new situations come up, but things are fairly stable overall. We also have different titles, roles, and responsibilities than those defined in chapter 10. These differences don't change the applicability of the concepts, but it does require me to translate the application from the defense contractor mindset.

The appendices give additional checklists and some detailed information on tools in the marketplace. The tool information will become dated soon, but it's probably good for another year or so. The authors also give a lot of links to web sites throughout the book, and I like it when readers are pointed to additional information for continued learning.

Overall, I couldn't ask for a lot more given what I was looking for. I am now in a better position to work with the experience people on my team and be confident in my ability to understand the key issues and considerations. Those looking for more hands on information may be left wanting. There are not a lot in the way of examples, but this is difficult to do without slanting the book toward specific tools. I think that the authors assume a certain level of experience for the software developers who will be doing the actual implementation, and they assume that they can translate the concepts into code. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section if there is an area that I have not addressed.

Overall: B
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