Software Testing as a Martial Art – by David Greenlees

I recently had the privilege of writing the foreword to my good friend David Greenlees new book, “Software Testing as a Martial Art”. I encourage you all the buy the book on Leanpub HERE and spread the word for anyone looking for some great insights into the world of software testing. Here is what I had to say about David and his book…enjoy!

Software Testing as a Martial Art – by David Greenlees

Foreword by Keith Klain

“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect” – Bruce Lee

Integrity matters. It matters in all aspects of your life but in the software testing business, it is not only essential to your professional reputation but critical to our trade. Delivering unbiased information that is context aware is a difficult charge and one that is frequently compromised for the sake of expediency. I have worked in the software testing business for over 20 years and have managed, hired and worked with thousands of testers from all over the world. The single most important trait I have seen in the best testers on the planet is a strong sense of integrity – integrity for their work, ethics, and professionalism. David Greenlees is one of those testers.

I have had the pleasure of knowing David through our industry for several years and now the honor or working directly with him as a colleague. I can tell you that the principles and values he writes about in “Software Testing as a Martial Art” are ones that he lives on a daily basis. When David writes about adapting to survive in the environment you find yourself, I have seen him change techniques and shape messages to his audience. He’s pragmatic, sensitive to his surroundings and uses empathy to diffuse situations to focus on problems not people.

So why should you read this book.

If integrity is important to your development as a software tester, pragmatism is very close to being next on the list. David provides great examples of practical applications of what he has learned through his career through success as well as failure. There are worked examples, use cases for techniques, and loads of great advice for testers at every level of experience. He also provides a great primer for entry into the Context Driven Testing world for those who share his love of community.

Additionally, aside from being rich with analogies between martial arts and software testing my favorite part of this book are the many points that David makes that testers can use as “koans”. Webster’s defines a “koan” as a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment. How do I maintain context-driven principles while adapting to my surroundings that use “best practices”? How do I develop testing skill while not creating “muscle memory” bias?

So enjoy, meditate, and most importantly take David’s advice to get away from the “bags and pads” and practice your testing skills, for as the master said – “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done” – Bruce Lee.

4 thoughts on “Software Testing as a Martial Art – by David Greenlees

  1. I purchased this book yesterday and started Studying it today. So far read 3 chapters only and found it really good. Chapter -2 (The Community) while give you whole idea of how it is important to be part of and contributing to the community in different forms. Chapter -3 (Be Like Water) is more thought provoking because everyone has different Testing Contexts and since I consider myself a Student of Software Testing, its important to ask Do I understand my Context or I just call it Context while its a Constraint?

    I started questioning myself like

    1. How can I make a call (with ability to demonstrate / convince) that such practice is good or not good in my context, while understanding / aligned with organisation’s or Boss’s intentions / goals?
    2. How to implement the ‘Be Like Water’ philosophy when you know you are not so liquid in nature? Is it easy or Its me who think its not easy because I haven’t practice it? How it is different from ‘Compromising’ or being ‘Agreed’ while being convinced?
    3. How to be in equilibrium while ‘Be Like a Water’ and a ‘Context Driven Tester’ who has his own way of Testing / Exploration.

    It is important to ask Questions even while Studying a book like this. So far I am happy that I purchased this book. I will share my questions based on my experiences and my knowledge to David and I will post on my blog soon. Based on my feeling, the way it stimulated me to ask questions to myself, I can recommend to other Testers as well. Please have it in your library.

    I will post further comments as soon as I study other chapters.

    • Thank you for your comment Sandeep. I look forward to your email and better understanding your context.

      I very glad to read that the book has provoked questions for you to think more about. It was one of my goals for it.


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