Test Process Improvement: A Practical Step‐by‐Step Guide to Structured Testing


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 1 February 2000




Harwood, C.J. (2000), "Test Process Improvement: A Practical Step‐by‐Step Guide to Structured Testing", Kybernetes, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 144-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/k.2000.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Any book that aims to improve our rather primitive methods of testing a process, whatever it may be, is bound to be welcomed. One of our difficulties appears to be that we cannot describe and certainly not define what we are trying to test. This publication offers a practical step‐by‐step guide to what the authors call “structured testing”. Any mathematician, and most certainly a cybernetician, is very wary of practical guides. They are often merely “rule‐of‐thumb” approaches to processes that have not or cannot be properly defined because they are inherently imprecise or the authors know of no “describing” language or notation to perform the task.

This book describes a model for improving the testing process and has the advantage that a company IQUIP provides the basic framework. What is offered is a model which is able to offer a reference structure aimed at providing a diagnosis of what is good or bad in an existing test process. The authors also promise that the model will offer the support needed to carry out any subsequent improvements that are required. Whether the model works effectively is still something the reader will have to discover for him/herself. There is a lack of good case histories and relevant examples of how it will perform in practice. For a “practical” book it is certainly lacking in “practice” but perhaps the user is expected to learn by experience and “hands‐on” experimentation.

There is, however, plenty of detail about how to set about using the system. Readers need to look at their company’s present test process and then peruse the author’s descriptions of how to improve it. The model created does enable this to be done and the explanations of how to do are succinct and clear to follow. Here the guide comes into its own and provides worthwhile advice for each stage of the methodology. It is fairly easy to follow and even if the few examples provided are not comprehensive in themselves they do show the way forward. There is a chance, however, to contact the authors about some of these points, because in true cybernetic style they ask for feedback and even provide a Website address (www.iquip.nl/tpi) to encourage users to respond. Interaction is, of course, to be encouraged, but having paid nearly £30 for a book it should not be necessary to contact the authors to tell them of its deficiencies‐praise perhaps, is always accepted, but criticism at this stage by the paying customer is not an option surely, unless of course, as in some online publications, an updated version is to be supplied – preferably at no cost.

Apart from that it is quite understandable that the designers desire to improve the model. This is commendable and we may all benefit from that. It is, however, a useful book to have and it could make an acceptable contribution to many organisations’ testing philosophy and strategy.

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