Michael Bolton


Michael Bolton is a consulting software tester and testing teacher who helps people to solve testing problems that they didn’t realize they could solve. In 2006, he became co-author (with James Bach) of Rapid Software Testing (RST), a methodology and mindset for testing software expertly and credibly in uncertain conditions and under extreme time pressure. Since then, he has flown over a million miles to teach RST in 35 countries on six continents. Michael has been testing, developing, managing, and writing about software since 1988. For over 20 years, he has led DevelopSense, a Toronto-based testing and development consultancy. Prior to that, he was with Quarterdeck Corporation for eight years, during which he managed the company’s flagship products and directed project and testing teams both in-house and around the world. Contact Michael at michael@developsense.com, on Twitter @michaelbolton, or through his Web site, http://www.developsense.com.
Keynote: What’s Wrong with Manual Testing?

Manual testing” deep has problems.  The problems start with the term “manual testing”, which misrepresents the most substantial and important elements of testing. Journalists don’t do “manual journalism” or “automated journalism”; consultants perform neither “manual consulting” nor “automated consulting”; and programmers don’t divide their craft into “manual programmers” or “automated programmers”. No serious practitioners of these disciplines believe that machinery can do any of this stuff. Other than testing, no other skilled profession allows itself to be talked about in this way.  How did we get to this state?

The problems aren’t really with the activity of working with the product in direct, naturalistic ways. Human interaction and engagement with the product is a powerful and often — remarkably — overlooked way to discover problems that matter to people. In this talk, Michael Bolton will demonstrate and dissect the elements, skills, and tactics of experiential testing — a term that we use in Rapid Software Testing — which emphasizes gaining experience with the product, rather than just mechanistic checking for correctness of output.


Tutorial: Analysis for Testers

How do we go about understanding something complex? How do we move from confusion to clarity? What strategies and approaches can we use to identify and reason about things that matter? When we’re dropped into a testing situation, how do we make sense of it all? How can we rapidly achieve a deeper understanding of things that we know little or nothing about? How can we develop skills to make us more powerful testers?

The answer to these questions is analysis – the study of things and ideas by examining their elements and structure. In this half day tutorial, Michael Bolton will lead exercises and discussions on the critical testing skill of analysis which can be applied to testing, products, technologies, systems, language, test conditions, risks, problems, strategies and more. Leave this tutorial with an understanding of how we go about analysis, modeling, geometric and linguistic analysis, systems thinking and patterns of scientific investigation; all of which improve our understanding of the object being analyzed.