Maintaining your testing skills

A couple of weekends ago we held the August session of the Indianapolis Workshop on Software Testing. The attendees were:

  • Taher Attari

  • Charlie Audritsh

  • Laura DeVilbiss

  • Mike Goempel

  • Michael Kelly

  • Dana Spears

The topic we focused on for the five-hour workshop was maintaining your testing skills.

Our workshop started with a brainstorm of how we all maintain our testing skills. The results of that (most of them anyway) were captured and are available for download on the IWST website. I will summarize our findings. We all pretty much use five types of resources (not counting mentors) to maintain our skills: websites, books, tools, groups of people, and magazines. The following are our "top five" for each group. Top five does not imply some type of ranking or rigorous method for selection. They are simply the resources that most of us use most often.








  • Lessons Learned in Software Testing by Kaner, Bach, and Pettichord

  • Testing Computer Software by Kaner, Falk, and Nguyen

  • Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking by Weinberg

  • How to Break Software by Whittaker

  • Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge by Popper


  • The IBM Rational tools and RUP

  • Watir and Ruby

  • WebGoat

  • Logic Puzzles

  • FireFox Web Developer



  • Better Software

  • Software Test and Performance

  • CIO

  • Fast Company

  • Wired

Following the brainstorm, I related some of the stuff James Bach and I talked about when I went out there last month. We ended up working through some of the testing problems he gave me, including one of James Lyndsay's "machines": These things are great!

Also worth noting, Laura DeVilbiss started a blog following the workshop. Check it out and leave her a comment. She also has some great stuff on Can a bad user interface be the gateway to horrible user behavior?

Next month - test patterns. Let me know if you are interested in attending.