Essential books about testing you don’t want to miss

Sogeti’s senior consultant Tomi Ukkonen shares 3 useful and hands-on testing books that will help you develop your skills around agile testing and exploratory testing.

When I started in testing, it took me a long time to realize, that experienced test professionals have written many great books about testing. Here I’d like to share three insightful books with you. If you are not into reading, you may think that you pretty much know it all already (yes, I’ve been that person) – but if you dive into books, you will realize that you actually have a lot to learn. If you want to improve your testing knowledge, you can start with any of the following books: 

#1: Lessons learned in software testing (Cem Kaner, James Bach, Brett Pettichord)

This book is pure gold in a paper format because it gathers together 293 context-driven solutions to testing problems. Basically, you can choose any page or topic you like and you’ll find something useful. If you have experience in testing, you will recognize many of the lessons from your projects. Others will add new dimensions to your knowledge – that’s the beauty of this book. The authors don’t recommend this as the first testing book but rather see beneficial for a reader with at least a few years of testing experience.

Lesson 1. You are the headlights of the project

Lesson 27. To test, you must explore

Lesson 218. Work actively on skills improvement

Here are just a few highlights of what the book has to offer. Often a self-explanatory title (lesson) with description varying between a few sentences and several pages. However, the book is not about best practices but context-driven solutions to testing problems.

#2: Exploratory Software Testing (James A. Whittaker)

What is exploratory testing (ET)? Whittaker states that it is more purposeful and prescriptive than manual testing. Testers interact with the application as they please, react to the feedback it gives and flexibly explores the functionality without the restraint of the beforehand written test scripts. Test cases are written during testing and results are documented.

Exploratory testing in the small and large

ET in the small gives advice on how to make small testing decisions during testing (e.g. input, user data and code paths). ET in the large presents an approach of exploring the whole application rather than a specific feature.

Tourist metaphor

With ET in the large, the author applies a tourist metaphor: when exploring, for instance, a new city you decide beforehand if you want to see historical district, business district or tourist district and in each of them do a variety of tours depending on your approach. In the same way, you can explore the application’s features by selecting an approach to guide testing. The author’s colleagues from Microsoft describe how they apply different tours with their teams.

When you’re coordinating, for instance, a team of business testers, it is easier for you to guide their testing using these examples.

#3: Agile testing (Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory)

This practical guide for testers and agile teams is my third favorite book about testing. This book is really practical and easy to follow since each chapter starts with a helpful mind map of the content and ends with a bullet point summary. The authors aim to make the transition to agile development and agile teams as effective as possible. The focus is on the role of the tester.

Agile tester, be proactive!

Crispin and Gregory have collected not only their own experiences but also those from many agile teams producing a comprehensive book with plenty of concrete examples. They encourage agile testers to be proactive and look for ways to contribute.

Read to learn

All these books are worth reading. Not only to learn from others’ experiences but to avoid getting stuck in your conventional way of thinking about testing. Feeding your mind with something that can help you do better testing and serve your clients better is definitely worthwhile. Take a closer look at the books:

Lessons learned in software testing (Cem Kaner, James Bach, Brett Pettichord) 
- Exploratory Software Testing (James A. Whittaker) 
Agile testing (Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory)

Tomi has been working in testing since the year 2000 doing test execution and test management in both domestic and international clients’ projects. He thrives in a fast-paced environment that requires problem-solving, communication and coordination skills. In his free time, Tomi enjoys sports, writing and learning about blockchain.

We are looking for several new colleagues to join our team. Get to know Sogeti as an employer and check out our open positions within quality assurance, testing, and cybersecurity and apply to us (in Finnish).

  • Tomi Ukkonen
    Tomi Ukkonen
    Senior Consultant
    +358 50 577 2655
Fact Block

Name: Tomi Ukkonen

Role: Senior Test Consultant

Education: M.Sc. (econ.) Economics & Finance  

Hobbies: roller skating, swimming and reading books.