Issue 37

Rapid Software Testing- a change in perspective

Monica Rațiu
Marketing Specialist @ Altom


As some of you might have already read, almost one year ago Altom Consulting brought Michael Bolton (the tester, not the singer) to Cluj for Rapid Software Testing and Critical Thinking trainings, accomplishing one of the company's targets: to bring an international trainer to Romania every year.

Altom's goal is to organize at least one international testing event per year in order to: help spread the knowledge about new beliefs on testing, facilitate the relationship between the Romanian instructors and the international trainers and to ease access to specific information on testing.

This year, it is James Bach's turn to return to Romania, at the end of October, to deliver the Rapid Software Testing and Rapid Software Testing for Managers workshops.

What is Rapid Software Testing?

As James Bach himself says, "Rapid testing is a complete methodology designed for today's testing, in which it is dealt with complex products, constant change, and turbulent schedules. It's an approach to testing that begins with developing personal skills and extends to the ultimate mission of software testing: lighting the way of the project by evaluating the product.

The rapid approach isn't just testing with a speed or sense of urgency; it's mission-focused testing that eliminates unnecessary work, assures that important questions get asked and necessary work gets done, and constantly asks what testing can do to help speed the project as a whole.

One important tool of rapid testing is the discipline of exploratory testing-essentially a testing martial art. Exploratory testing combines test design, test execution, test result interpretation, and learning into a simultaneous, seamless process that reveals important information about the product and finds a lot of problems quickly."

Who are the ideal participants in the Rapid Software Training?

The answer that might come to everybody's mind is: the testers. But, in order to have a better understanding of the concept, we let James Bach and Michael Bolton explain who the ideal participants are: "The ideal student is anyone who feels driven to be an excellent software tester or software test manager. The class is useful to all levels of tester, but seems to be most appreciated by experienced testers who want to become expert testers. The class works well when strong-minded and skeptical students attend the class. They challenge the instructor and make the class better, just like testers should. We try to make the class the most stimulating intellectual experience you can handle."

For the second workshop with James Bach this autumn we had to choose between Rapid Software Training for Programmers and Rapid Software Training for Managers. We chose the latter, taking into consideration the effects that Rapid Software Testing might have on the participants that will want to put into practice what they have learnt, but still need the approval of a manager in order to make the whole process more smooth.

What is Rapid Software Testing for Managers?

As cited on satisfice.com, "Rapid Software Testing for Managers is a one-day class, available for individuals or small groups, in which test management is explored, any organization's context and how to respond to it. The work is done through experiential exercises, puzzles, and scenarios, along with short presentations, conversation, and some actual testing and reporting. The goal of the course is to teach students how to respond with the management action appropriate to the context while recognizing the near-universal situation: testing is almost always done under extreme time pressure and conditions of uncertainty."

Who are the ideal participants to Rapid Software Testing for Managers?

While the target audience for this course is primarily test managers and test leads, peers of test managers such as development managers and project or program managers, and higher managers interested in testing are welcomed.

How are these courses different?

First of all, the difference comes from the amount of practice that students have to do: exercises, puzzles, they all lead to a better understanding of the concepts and courses. But this doesn't mean that the theoretical part is being ignored. Another difference is that the old-fashioned teaching methods are left behind, bringing to light new methods, that are more interactive, and do not offer a standardized solution to an issue, but make the participants develop their own solutions, getting them out of their comfort zone.

Who is James Bach?

James Bach owns and operates Satisfice, Inc. He's a founder and leading voice in the Context-Driven school of testing (one of our industry's several prominently competing communities of practice). He's also a founding member of the Association for Software Testing. He has written many articles, co-authored "Lessons Learned in Software Testing", and wrote "Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar", a book about technical self-education. He has introduced numerous ideas to the industry, including formalized exploratory testing, the Allpairs test tool, session-based test management, sapient testing, blink testing, visual test strategy, models of software risk and testability, "good enough" quality analysis, and numerous heuristics in support of rapid testing. He also co-created the online, free, Black-Box Software Testing course.

These days, he consults on difficult and high stakes testing projects, such as medical devices (in partnership with QualiTest) and software-related court cases. He teaches his Rapid Testing methodology around the world and via text-based coaching sessions over Skype.

Our proposal for the ones that have never met James Bach, or might have met him a long time ago, is to participate to the workshops in Cluj this October.

What to expect: three inspirational days that will revolutionize the students' perspective on testing in the Rapid Software Testing workshop, along with one motivational day full of fruitful discussions in the Rapid Software Testing for Managers Workshop.




  • Accenture
  • BT Code Crafters
  • Accesa
  • Bosch
  • Betfair
  • MHP
  • BoatyardX
  • .msg systems
  • Yardi
  • P3 group
  • Ing Hubs
  • Colors in projects


Monica Rațiu wrote also