e-testing Blog

Book Review – Risk-based e-business testing

Risk-Based E-Business Testing by Paul Gerrard and Neil Thompson Published by Artech House. Reviewed by Peter Morgan

ISBN: 1580533140
Hardback; pp 368

Amazon.co.uk Link

The title of this book need not deter you. Yes, it is aimed at both Test Managers (the risk elements) and at web testers (the E-Business content). However, if, like me, you fall into neither category, it is still a very worthwhile addition to your reading list and workplace library.

The authors use very practical examples from real life testing to illustrate points. A continuous analogy of an individual E-Business being like a shop, with potential walk-in customers, works very well. Some rather startling facts emerge too; the average visit to the Systeme Evolutif web-site (of which Paul Gerrard is the web-master) is less than two minutes. I am sure that is true of a lot of sites, including those that are payment-now, real business sites.

Everyone in testing seems to promote ‘risk’. Here is a strategy for answering the inevitable questions on ready-for-live issues based on whether risks have been addressed. “When enough tests have been prepared, executed and passed to convince the risk-owners that the risk has been addressed, enough testing has been done”.

I have dabbled in web testing, both formally and informally (the latter probably every time I use the internet). The techniques for addressing real and perceived E-Business risks have a large carry over into other (i.e. non E-Business) test forms. The sections on performance, usability and Large Scale Integration rung some bells with me, and the use of tools is both encouraged, and discouraged. Strange as it may seem, the way of doing this did not seem to be contradictory. The sections on why the concept of E-Business is different only seeks to place MORE emphasis on why a coherent risk strategy is necessary. With web applications, not only is the time-to-market critical, but the price of failure can be so much more disastrous.

Use of American spelling and currency (everything is quoted in dollars) jars for the British reader, and look out for the words “we”, “us”, and “our”. These are sometimes used a little ambiguously. (Ask who “us” refers to). However, expect to be challenged, and encouraged on to the land of better testing. There is a wealth of source material provided, especially on tools, and toll providers. There are lots of web-based references; additionally, a significant number of articles and books referenced are from 2001 or 2002.

The preface gives one of the reasons for the book being the ordering of the vast quantities of information that there is around. What was set out as an aim has been achieved, and both Paul and Neil have brought their experience, knowledge and communications skills to benefit us all. One of the dedications says: “To all those testers who do the best they can, but always think they should do more”. I for one appreciate that the book was written for me. Thanks.

Note: –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Published on-line on Amazon.co.uk
Reviewed by Peter Morgan, Principal Test Consultant ( PMorgan@etesting.com )

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