Thursday, August 7, 2008

Book Review "The Complexity of Chain Testing"

Recently a new book has been published by CapGemini that treats the subject of Chain Testing. According to the authors, Chain Testing is the newest and most important addition to the testing profession. As part of the job of working as a tester is keeping my knowledge up to date, I started reading to learn more about Chain Testing.

The idea behind Chain Testing is that more and more systems are integrated and depended on each other. Testing is therefore not restricted to a single system. The authors take the reader through the steps needed to execute a Chain Test. In the appendices topics such as roles, quality attributes, references, etc. are treated.

The second chapter Project Assignment was an eye-opener for me. In the introduction the Chain Test is placed in the classic V-Model after the Acceptance Test. It is common knowledge that the earlier you find a defect or problem, the cheaper it is to repair. With Chain Testing taking place in the end, the room for errors is very little. Bad preparation means bad testing. You therefore test the Chain in the end, but the preparation should start very early.

Chain Testing is not about black box testing with equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, etc. Chain Testing is more about communication, cooperation, roles and responsibilities. People familiar with Project Management will recognize the terminology; stakeholders, deliverables, acceptance criteria. The book gives a clear approach what steps to take and anecdotes, hints and tips to help the reader understand the steps taken.

A lot of the information in this book is based on standards and common practices which you can find somewhere else. However I really like the book, not because it gives you new information. I like it because all the information is one book and it gives you new insights. Also you can pick it up and start using it. I highly recommend it for Project -and Test Managers that need to get the job done and quickly need to get up to date.

Finally, you should not judge a book by its cover and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the design and photographs add to the message of the book. The style can be described as no nonsense, with large margins and a clear distinction between the chapters. The photographs are both color and black & white and could be tagged with labels such as building, technique, traffic, cooperation, etc.

Since sharing is caring, if you would to know more about the book or Chain Testing you can contact Barbara van Wijk van Brievingh

The Complexity of Chain Testing
Successful Integration across Organizations
Jacolien Vukkink, Julien Bensaid, Marco Koomen, Maurice Siteur, Thomas Som, John van Veen


Anko said...

Too bad they stick to the old paradigm: test late :-( IMHO, that's reactive problem management.

Jools said...

IMHO, there is no old paradigm for Chain Testing - it's a relatively new test phenomenon. As far as the 'test late' is concerned, the book clearly states (p.10) that a chain test tests the whole and (p.24) that it normally can only be performed at the end of a project. That notwithstanding, on the same page they go into how to avoid this and mitigate what you apparently call 'reactive problem management'.
On p.12, 20, 26 and 51 they go further into how to do it as early as possible.