Acceptance Test Limitations

Our customer has a pretty mature organization. They have their own acceptance test group. They are all employees of the customer organization. Their goal is to test everything we do to ensure the stuff with work in Production.

A while back we delivered a major release. The customer has found all kinds of problems that we missed upon delivery. Luckily we were able to fix most of those issues. However there was a significant piece we were not able to deliver on time. We have been trying to deliver the results piecemeal. However the acceptance team is discovering this effort is producing a lot of bugs. Back to the drawing board.

Recently I read an article about the limits of acceptance tests. They cannot conduct a full regression test. You should not depend too heavily on tools for the tests. The testing only adds value to the effort. It needs management support. And the testers need to learn many skills for the project to benefit. I can honestly say that our customer organization has not let these limits hold back their testing. The acceptance test team really does add significant value to the project. My hat is off to them.

Stolen Art of Unit Testing

I just read a blog post by the author of the book The Art of Unit Testing. He said a PDF version of his book was being shared illegally. The guy even posted a link to one such illegal download. So I downloaded it. I read the first chapter. That's as far as I got. I won't be buying the book.

Even though I took a pass, there were some things to learn from Chapter 1. Your project may fail even if you have unit tests. If fact the unit tests can be a liability. It does not matter whether you employ Test Driven Development. You might still fail. I believe that.

The author does encourage you to use a unit test framework. The examples in his book use NUnit. He also states that unit tests should run quickly. They should be able to finish in a few minutes. He must be talking about some specific unit tests, not the tests for a big system. You should also set up you tests so they do not require manually configuration before running.

I will give the guy one thing. The PDF version of his book was pretty good for a PDF. Most PDFs I view are boring black and white things. He used color appropriately. Since he was getting ripped off by people passing around free copies of his book, I will give out a link to buy The Art of Unit Testing on Amazon. Good luck Roy.