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Top Book Recommendations For Software Testing Leaders

See our favorite books for software quality leaders focused on testing strategies to organization-wide quality initiatives.

June 9, 2022
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See our favorite books for software quality leaders focused on testing strategies to organization-wide quality initiatives.
Top Book Recommendations For Software Testing Leaders

For software testing leaders all over the world, it is crucial to maintain a productive reading habit for more reasons than one. Since these are people at the very cutting-edge of the testing industry, their knowledge and experience are instrumental in driving innovation and progress in the field as a whole. To maintain their position and credential as leaders, these professionals need to stay on top of the latest developments in the field, understand and imbibe industry best practices, and develop a mindset and philosophy that is tailor-made for success.

So, why do software testing leaders need to cultivate a productive reading habit? The most important reason is to absorb and inculcate insight into the field. Learning new things constantly is fundamental in positions of this kind and this is exactly what reading the right books can help accomplish. In addition, software testing leaders also often choose books that talk about that winning mindset and how to cultivate and maintain it. This is to create and retain motivation and become inspired to excel daily.

With that in mind, here are the top book recommendations for software testing leaders that can help not only enhance their competency in the field but also provide adequate inspiration and mental training to help them excel.

Agile Testing Condensed: Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin

Book - Agile Testing Condensed

Testing in an agile environment is currently an obligatory requirement in most development scenarios. For software testing leaders, it’s paramount to gain and retain critical foundational knowledge about this approach of testing, while also making sure that they keep abreast of new techniques and strategies related to testing in an Agile environment.

Agile Testing Condensed is considered canonical reading material, not just for testing leaders operating in an Agile environment, but for anyone professionally involved in the process of testing. It takes a broad-strokes approach in the discussion of software testing seen in the much larger context of seamless software development. While it is not a large or dense volume, the key concepts involved in creating, testing, and releasing software while maintaining a high degree of quality is laid out in lucid detail.

The book first defines the concept of Agile testing, going into detail about the mindsets and techniques that can help entire software teams participate in the testing process – a salient feature of the Agile approach. It then explores the role of the ideal tester in the Agile process as someone who asks questions and thinks of use cases for the software that would be instrumental in creating a testing strategy.

Another concept discussed in detailed is that of exploratory testing. The book talks about the usefulness of exploratory testing and discusses ideas regarding how it can be formulated and implemented. It also discusses important distinctions between two different facets of the Agile methodology that are often confused – Continuous Development and Continuous Deployment.

Next, the book underlines two useful models that can come in handy for creating testing strategies in an Agile environment. The authors expound in detail the concepts of the Test Automation Pyramid model and the Agile Testing Quadrants model. The conclusion is a bird’s eye view of the current state of Agile Testing where the authors converse with several industry leaders to scope out the different roles of the software tester in the current context, and how those roles shape up in terms of characteristics and responsibilities.

Overall, it is an excellent place to start for software testing leaders looking for an umbrella collection of concepts. The digital version of the book also comes with hyperlinks to critical terms and concepts that lead to more thorough explanations.

Leading Quality: Ronald Cummings-John and Owais Peer

Book - Leading Quality

Leading Quality contains valuable insight testing and quality from industry veterans who have their own service company that provides testing and testing strategy advice. In spite of its small size, it goes into detail about the mindset quality leaders need to inculcate and provides essential direction for creating winning strategies.

To start off, the authors discuss possible quality narratives that can shape an organization’s strategies for testing. These delve into concepts like ownership, techniques, and value, and present complete roadmaps to reach the end goal of having a working testing strategy. They also discuss creating and perfecting a testing strategy over the course of the development life cycle, with specific pointers about knowing when to test and how to test.

The final part of the book is a broader discussion about developing that winning leadership mindset that fosters quality and high standards. The authors delve into different metrics that can shape evolution in testing strategies, focusing on different approaches based on these metrics that can help create a roadmap for quality. For software testing leaders, this is an essential read with plenty of useful information on building winning testing strategies, along with all the intangibles involved.

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations: Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

Book - Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps

Based on employee surveys, this critical book can be sensational for anyone participating in development or testing. With that said, since it ties performance and quality in software delivery to broader organizational performance, it carries an increased significance for software testing readers.

To start off, the authors pinpoint the metrics that can be used to successfully quantify and measure software delivery performance. From these, they can then extrapolate some of the essential overarching factors that influence performance, both in terms of software delivery and for an organization as a whole. Their claim is that software delivery performance and organizational performance are intrinsically tied, and they bear that out based on these factors.

For quality leaders, it is an interesting study of the link between software delivery performance and organizational performance, one that can have broad-strokes implications in planning, strategy, and policy. By looking at the key metrics and factors associated with this analysis, software testing leaders can take a critical look at their own organizations and leadership and bring about the required transformations that can help improve performance across the board.

The Phoenix Project: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

Book - The Phoenix Project

This is an uncannily perceptive book that is perfect for software testing leaders who are looking to understand the importance of IT capability in the modern world as an important influencer of business value. The book uses an interesting narrative technique – it talks about a fictional company that is undergoing problems owing several issues regarding their management, philosophy, and IT infrastructure. The authors use this fictional company as a case study to drive home their point and reach their conclusions.

The authors use a fictional employee, Bill Palmer, who gets promoted to VP of IT operations, as the conduit for their insight. Bill faces several bleak challenges and slowly comes to understand his responsibilities, going through the process of learning and evolving himself while guiding the organization through its own phase of evolution. The book brings to the table important concepts related to the DevOps approach and Agile methodology.

Overall, this is an excellent vehicle that disseminates crucial information in a manner that is likeable and entertaining, as the authors expound their focus on flow, feedback, and a culture of continuous learning. The organization embarks on a DevOps journey and showcases how challenges of culture and personality need to be overcome to achieve success in the competitive modern world.

Perfect Software and Other Illusions About Testing: Gerald Weinberg

Book - Perfect Software and Other Illusions About Testing

This is considered one of the seminal books on testing that is a must-read for software testing leaders. The credentials and experience of the authors make this book a veritable treasure trove of information and insight. The format involves the author focusing in on individual aspects of software testing in the context of his real consultations. He summarizes each case study and outlines the problem with the approach.

The author uses both real-world examples and hypothetical scenarios to drive home important realities about testing. Through these, he describes situations where one or more people on the development or testing team structures used either flawed logic or their own shortcoming s as motivators while making decisions about testing. In these scenarios, these specific issues highlight unique aspects of the testing challenge and propose solutions that can help anyone in a testing environment make better decisions.

For software testing leaders, this is a must-read as it explains in detail the crucial role of testing in software projects, defines the parameters that constitute good tests, details effective ways to plan the testing for different project requirements, and explains the process of interpreting test data in order to make better management decisions.

How Google Tests Software: James A. Whittaker, Jason Arbon, Jeff Carollo

Book - How Google Tests Software

For software testing leaders, one of the most plausible sources of insight and learning would be direct knowledge of the procedures and practices followed by one of the largest software companies in the world - Google. With this book, readers get acquainted with the nitty-gritty of the software testing structures and methodologies followed by the software giant, straight from software testing leaders working at Google.

The book talks about how Google organizes its software testing teams and philosophy while going over two of the most important roles in testing at the organization. These two roles, that of Test Engineer and Software Engineer in Test, serve to paint a picture of the methodologies in use at Google to create that perfect testing strategy and mindset. It is also indicative of the deep integration of testing into the rest of the software development and deployment process that create a seamless workflow.

Quality Reading

Reading these books will surely be a source of information and inspiration for software quality leaders, no matter their specific areas and responsibilities. A lot of the knowledge provided in these books can translate directly into strategies in the testing environment, and even organization-wide changes geared towards quality.