Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TMap Next book

New TMap book "TMap Next"

Near the end of last year the start was given for a new version of TMap. Based on experiences, ideas and a lot of change requests from testers around the world we (my co-authors are Leo van der Aalst, Bart Broekman and Michiel Vroon) started writing. Now, 8 months later, we look back on a highly effective period with a revised and enriched method and book as a result. The results of the first reviews are very hopeful and give us the idea we did our work well.
Initially, we aimed for a Dutch publication first, but this has changed. The aim is now to launch the English book at the Eurostar conference early December (, the Dutch book will follow soon after. See below for a quick overview of the contents of the book. Essentials of the book and method are:

  • Based on a business-driven test management (BDTM) approach, allowing the customer to control the test process based on rational and economic considerations.
  • Gives a full description of the test process.
  • Contains a complete ‘toolbox’, i.e. technique descriptions, checklists, procedures, and so on.
  • Adaptive, suitable for all testing situations in most development environments (new systems, maintenance, waterfall / iterative / agile development, custom-made or software packages, and so on).

There are a number of reasons for this completely revised version:

  • Time didn’t stand still, a large number of people have asked for revising the method.
  • At present, it’s clear for most organisations that testing is necessary. So, instead of the discussion on why to test, the discussions are more about how long, how much and what to test.
  • In the current version testing is described as a stand-alone process in waterfall development of new information systems. The current field of play in IT is much larger: more maintenance instead of development of new systems, many implementations of standard software (like SAP) and iterative and agile development besides waterfall. Although the method has grown with current practices, this is not the case for the book. In the new book testing is more seen as an integral part of the larger whole.
  • In many organisations testing is organised as a separate department instead of purely as a project activity. Many kinds of test organisations are possible, from expertise centers up to complete test factories, each with certain advantages and disadvantages. In current testing literature this is given little attention.
  • Besides the theoretical part, readers were looking for the practical ‘how’ in TMap. In the new book a lot of tips and examples are given.
  • And perhaps the most important reason: testing should much more be seen as an economic activity within IT. Time and costs, but also the benefits and risks, have to be made clear to the customer. With this information he or she can control testing in a rational and businesslike way, finding the right balance between required time and money on the one hand and the benefits on the other: insight in quality and risks, confidence in the product and project (tracking) information. This part of TMap is called BDTM, Business Driven Test Management, and will be the guiding principle of the method.

TMap offers the tester and test manager a guide to deliver results to the customer within his/her context.

The change in method does not only has consequences for the book. Also trainings, certification programs, websites and such need to be adapted. We will keep you informed!

Overview book
General part
The first part of the book contains an introduction to TMap and to testing, the what and why. The essentials of TMap are explained.

This part deals with the various test processes, including a number of test supporting processes. The relations between these processes are also explained. Processes described are master test planning, acceptance testing, system testing and development testing. In the processes, special attention is given to their relation with the rest of the system development process, to BDTM and to managing the tests. To the phases Planning, Control, Preparation, Specification, Execution, Completion a new phase has been added: Setting up and Maintaining the Infrastructure. Within the phases, a better distinction is made between activities of the tester and the test manager.
Besides these primary test processes, a number of supporting processes is dealt with. These are in the following areas:

  • Organisation
    Organizing a permanent test organisation, from a test expertise center to a test factory, outsourcing of testing;
  • Test environments
    Requirements of the test environments, processes to maintain the environments;
  • Test tools
    Kinds of test tools, implementing a test tool;
  • Test professionals
    Hiring, test functions, training and career paths.

The last part of the book contains so-called component chapters that are used within a number of the above processes, like techniques and procedures.
Some examples of components are:

  • Product risk analysis (PRA)
    The steps for conducting a successful PRA are explained: choosing participants, defining the approach, organising the PRA, classifying risks, preparing a session/interview, collecting and analyzing risks, checking completeness;
  • Test types
    Discussed test types are for testing regression, usability, performance, portability/compatibility and information security;
  • Estimation techniques
    Several techniques for estimating the test effort are given, including Test Point Analysis;
  • Test design techniques
    Starting with an explanation of the concept of test design and test coverage, a number of basic techniques (9x) giving certain coverage are described, followed by a starter set of useful test design techniques (12x).

Based on many practical experiences, the book has been revised and enriched, containing many tips, examples and in-depth explanations.

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